This week’s Cabinet reshuffle proved underwhelming on the whole but for one man, it marked a great change in fortune. Philip Hammond remained in post as Chancellor – something that seemed rather unlikely during the snap election campaign when Theresa May was plotting to sack him in a revenge reshuffle.
So, it’s little wonder that Hammond was in a celebratory mood this week. On Tuesday night, the Chancellor invited around 30 loyal MPs to the Treasury for drinks. Seen as a ‘thank you’ for their work towards the successful Budget last year, the Chancellor celebrated the fact that they were all still here. ‘It was clear what he was getting at,’ remarks one attendee.
Hammond was in a generous mood and even gave out prizes to the MPs who had made the most contributions to Treasury questions in the past year. Explaining that he was a champion of productivity – and competition – Hammond said that although he had two bottles of champagne to award, they were not of the same value. After calculating the scale of each MP’s efforts, the most productive MP won a full size bottle, while the runner-up had to settle for a miniature.
Well, they don’t call him Spreadsheet Phil for nothing…