Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to take the job of Defence Secretary means that for the first time since 2001, the runner up in the Tory leadership contest won’t serve on the winner’s front bench. Hunt’s decision not to take the job of Defence Secretary is not without risk for him. Many Tory members and MPs regard it as one of the best jobs in government so deciding that it is essentially beneath him won’t go down well with everyone.
The first half of this reshuffle has been brutal, 17 departures from the Cabinet—11 forced. This is a dangerous strategy given that the government’s working majority in combination with the DUP is only four.
The second half of this reshuffle will have to create a Cabinet that looks noticeably more competent, able and dynamic than the previous one if the blood letting so far is to be justified.