Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Comings and Goings at Downing Street

BBC's Norman Smith telling us who's up and who's down this morning
The Ministerial Jaguars are crowded into Downing Street like airliners stacked over Heathrow this morning as David Cameron's first cabinet reshuffle gets underway.

The street used to be packed on reshuffle days, once an annual event, but Twitter has drained the colour out of the occasion, the announcements are around the world before the new Ministers come smiling out the door. But it was a nice enough day to hang about outside the seat of government even though Downing Street rarely gets sunlight.

The top ranks remain the same with Iain Duncan Smith digging in his heels at welfare. So, the top news so far is Jeremy Hunt becoming the luckiest man in Britain - with the jaws of death ready to snap on his Murdoch-tainted career as Culture Secretary he is promoted to one of the biggest jobs in government.

Ken Clarke having to become the official Shadow shadow chancellor, tasked to sell the economic medicine that George Osborne has become too unpopular to administer in public, is a sign of how much trouble the Coalition is on the economy.

Partick McLaughlin, a former miner, is the new Transport Secretary which means a third runway at Heathrow is back on the agenda. Labour leader Ed Miliband is, remember, opposed to Heathrow expansion.

So too is Tory environmentalist MP Zac Goldsmith who has threatened a Heathrow by-election in his Richmond Park marginal constituency if the government does a loop the loop on its pledge to block expansion.

Devo-sceptic, former Assembly member David Jones is the new Welsh Secretary. There's been no news on the Scotland Office yet but Michael Moore is expected to stay exactly where he is. If that changes my day gets a lot more exciting.

No big intake of women and and reversion to an all-white cabinet for the first time in 15 years, although Warsi  is sitting in on cabinet as compensation for losing her job as co-chair of the party. That's progress for you.

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