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When will Theresa May be strong enough to shuffle her ministerial pack?

29 July 2017

10:39 AM

29 July 2017

10:39 AM

Theresa May should go on holiday more often, I say in The Sun today. For her Italian break has coincided with a pause in the Tory plotting that has been rumbling on since the election.

Now, this is partly logistical: it is much harder to scheme when parliament isn’t sitting. But it also reflects how Tory opinion is hardening against a leadership contest.

At the same time, the government has begun to behave more like a government—setting the news agenda in the last week or so in a way it simply wasn’t straight after the election. This has been combined with a much more aggressive CCHQ-led campaign against Labour for its various spending commitments. Together, this has ended the post-election sense that Labour is the party with all the momentum.

One test of this May revival is whether she feels strong enough to do a reshuffle in the New Year. There were few greater signs of her post-election impotence than how nearly all of the Cabinet were reappointed after the election.

Inside Downing Street, they calculate that jettisoning some Cabinet dead wood in a reshuffle would show that she has regained some of her authority and really is in charge. It would also placate those junior ministers who are worried that May’s weakness means that their careers are on hold until she goes.

But May won’t be able to think about a reshuffle until she has navigated her way through conference and the government has got its autumn Budget through .

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