Philip Hammond’s promotion to Foreign Secretary means that we now have a Foreign Secretary who is on the record as saying he would vote to leave the EU unless substantial powers are returned. This is a major challenge to Foreign Office orthodoxy.
Hammond isn’t the kind of politician to set the heather alight. He’s not an exciting figure or a man who delivers brilliant speeches. I suspect that Cameron has sent him to the Foreign Office as a safe pair of hands.
But the fact that someone who has said that they’d vote to leave if substantial powers were not returned to the UK in the renegotiation is now Foreign Secretary sends a clear message to the rest of the EU about the British position. Combine this with Dominic Grieve’s departure as Attorney-General, which paves the way for the Tories to propose leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, and this reshuffle could be the precursor to some major shifts in European policy.