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Westlake Legal Group > Gavin Williamson MP

Javid, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg hold their podium slots in our Cabinet League Table

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Aug-19-1024x954 Javid, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg hold their podium slots in our Cabinet League Table ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP   Last month we published our first Cabinet League Table of the Johnson Ministry. It offered a sea-change from Theresa May’s embattled government, both in terms of composition and the estimation in which party members held it.

One month on and the general picture hasn’t really changed. If anything, over August there was a general upward drift in the scores, reflecting what many commentators – including our own Mark Wallace – thought was a very strong start in the role.

It goes without saying that the data for this was collected prior to the return of the Commons and the Government’s miserable week therein. We might therefore anticipate a quite different set of results in October.

Here are a few of the details:

  • Post-Ruth politics. Our survey was front-page news in Scotland last month when it showed the Scottish Conservative leader, so often one of the most highly-rated individuals, down to a positive score of just +14. Perhaps it was an omen of things to come, because Ruth Davidson has since stepped aside, triggering a battle for the future of the Party in Scotland.
  • Javid tops the poll again. The Chancellor puts on four points to take his score into the mid-Eighties. This suggests that activists are either untroubled by the Government’s decision to move away from spending restraint, which Sajid Javid is by necessity spearheading, or are at least not holding it against him.
  • Johnson and Rees-Mogg fill out the podium. No change in the ordering of any of the top three, and both the Prime Minister and Leader of the House have put on about five points to their score.
  • Gove climbs… The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is climbing the ranks. But will his ongoing defence of May’s deal, and reports that he is leading the charge against Johnson’s disciplining of anti-No Deal rebels, put a dent in his score next month?
  • …as does Cleverly. Of course small changes in position may not be terribly significant, but the Party Chairman is nonetheless one of the most popular politicians in the survey. If this continues it can’t hurt his chances of being offered a Cabinet brief in a future reshuffle.
  • What happened to Wallace? In a survey which generally saw very little movement – save for two outright departures – there are a couple of obvious exceptions. Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has seen his score drop by over ten points and now languishes near the bottom of the table.
  • Williamson wins members over. The other is the Education Secretary, who has seen his stock rise from +27 to +45 and gone from being close to the bottom of the table to comfortably in the middle.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Free schools must be set free

Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has pledged that free schools will be at the heart of education policy. In terms of the numbers, the growth of free schools has been strong. There are now 444 of them. There are hundreds more in the pipeline.

But the mission to provide innovation and wider choice is not just about numbers. Do free schools have enough freedom? A recent report from the New Schools Network suggests they could and should have more:

“The free schools programme must now return to its original purpose and mission. Recent narrow restrictions on the types of schools that can be approved and the bureaucracy of the application process have hampered the growth of the programme. Innovation and community led schools, which were the driver behind the free schools concept, are completely absent in recent waves. Where highly successful free schools already exist, they are struggling to expand and spread excellence. There is a risk the system is becoming dominated by a few big regional players, creating barriers to unleashing the next wave of innovation in education. In recent years, the policy has continued to see success in niche areas, such as the approval of four new university sponsored 16-19 maths schools and the growth in the number of special school places. Yet the original vision of the mainstream programme, which brought so many benefits to the thousands of children, has disappeared.”

It offers the following recommendations:

  • Open 100 new free schools each year, concentrated in areas that have been left behind
  • Expand the policy to ensure there is a free school in every local authority
  • Encourage new providers to enter the schools system by allowing new single academy trusts to be established, and placing innovation at the heart of the free school assessment process
  • Legislate to compel local authorities to set aside land for new free schools and remove the barriers to opening new schools
  • A new sponsorship model which brings the benefits of a track record of improvement, new leadership and capital funding to schools which have been stuck in a pattern of underperformance
  • Support for small, highly successful free schools to grow their academy trust, sharing their Outstanding practice
  • A new, dedicated, AP free school wave to deliver places for vulnerable pupils at risk of gang violence.

It is undeniable that community-led academy trusts have provided some of the most successful free schools. One of them is Michaela, the secondary school in Brent. The founder and headmistress is Katharine Birbalsingh who is an inspirational figure. Boris Johnson is among the visitors who were impressed.

So it is very welcome that the latest batch of approvals, which was for 22 new free schools, included the following:

“Michaela Community School Stevenage- a mixed, non-faith secondary providing 1260 school places for 11-18 year old pupils and will be part of a newly formed multi-academy trust, including Michaela Community School in Brent, judged Outstanding by Ofsted in 2017.”

Other new schools that were announced included Edgar Wood Academy in Rochdale, one of the most deprived areas of the country. The school will be part of the Altus Education Partnership. Its founding school, Rochdale Sixth Form College, has been named as the highest ranked college for value added performance in the country for the past five years.

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne will have the Callerton Academy. This will be led by Gosforth Federated Academies trust, which since 2010 has run the popular and over-subscribed Gosforth Academy, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

BOA Stage and Screen Production will be a new 16-19 specialist college in central Birmingham. An offshoot of the successful Birmingham Ormiston Academy, it will offer a highly specialised education in the technical and production side of the performing arts for pupils in the West Midlands.

Looking down the full list we can see that other ones will be opening in Barnsley, Doncaster, Oldham, Liverpool, Salford and St Helens. This is where the greater opportunity is needed the most. These are the areas where all too often parents are not happy with the choices currently available. For many children, these new schools will be transformational for their life chances. Will the local MPs welcome their arrival? Or demand they be closed down?

Boosting free schools is not the only answer. Just as important is to speed along with the forced takeovers of failing schools which are then reborn under new management as “sponsored academies.” The challenges are great in turning round a school.  Reputations takes time to recover even if the name is changed and a new head and governing body brought in. On the other hand, at least the building is already there. Finding premises for new schools is the hardest part, which is why the recommendation noted above to force councils to release sites is very sensible. I would also like to see independent schools give a bigger role. The Assisted Places Scheme should be revived. It should also be made easier for new independent schools to start up, which would result in downward pressure on school fees.

The moral and political imperative is to be bold with school reform. Labour, the “enemies of promise”, threatens church schools, free schools, academies, grammar schools and independent schools. The Conservative reply should be to back all these schools. They should be given more freedom and more chance to expand. Then Jeremy Corbyn will find there are plenty of parents, teachers and pupils willing to defend their schools from his attack.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jul-19-1024x955 Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP The Cabinet Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Ruth Davidson MSP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

When Mark predicted last month that it would be the last Cabinet League Table with that line-up, he was more right than he might have expected. Boris Johnson ushered in the new era with one of the more brutal reshuffles in modern political history.

A glance at last month’s table illustrates how the clean break has certainly restored the Cabinet’s standing in the eyes of the grassroots: every single member has a positive rating, nearly all of which would have put them comfortably in the top ten during the ancien régime.

But how much of that is due to unfamiliarity? This isn’t usually something we scrutinise, but no fewer than 16 of the politicians above-listed had ‘Don’t Know’ as their highest single response, with a couple more avoiding that fate by a bare handful of votes. A blow to the egos of a few, perhaps, but it does also mean that those ministers still have plenty of scope to make a positive impression.

Here are a few of the other takeaways:

  • Javid leads the pack. The Chancellor holds onto the position he took last month, and continues to enjoy the dividends of a good leadership election. Remarkable to think that two months ago this spot was held by Penny Mordaunt, now on the backbenches.
  • Johnson in his prime. Theresa May departed our table with a score of -61.2 (that’s lower than Chris Grayling), so Boris Johnson’s +77.2 is a happy contrast. However, he ought to recall that at one point his predecessor recorded record-breaking positive scores too. Fail to deliver and his standing will fall, fast.
  • Rees-Mogg makes the podium. Perhaps unsurprising, but the titular star of our Moggcast is a hit with the membership. Leader of the House is a good position for retaining their favour too, as Andrea Leadsom discovered, as it offers numerous opportunities for scoring points off John Bercow.
  • Brexiteers on top. Also unsurprisingly, Leave-backing MPs dominate the top of the table – it isn’t until Liz Truss, in seventh place, that we find a minister who backed Remain in 2016. Amber Rudd, one of the surprise survivals of the reshuffle, is at the bottom of the table. Except…
  • Davidson in the doldrums. The Scottish Conservative leader has previously been relatively shielded from the ups and downs of the Cabinet, often chalking up podium positions as she focused her fire on the SNP. She is currently the lowest-ranked politician in the entire table, most likely fallout from her highly-publicised split with the Prime Minister and hostility to No Deal.
  • Survivor spread. Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a particular position pattern for those ministers who did appear in our previous table (apart from the generally improved scores). Truss, Michael Gove, and Steve Barclay are at the upper end of the table, Rudd and Brandon Lewis near the bottom.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jul-19-1024x955 Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP The Cabinet Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Ruth Davidson MSP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

When Mark predicted last month that it would be the last Cabinet League Table with that line-up, he was more right than he might have expected. Boris Johnson ushered in the new era with one of the more brutal reshuffles in modern political history.

A glance at last month’s table illustrates how the clean break has certainly restored the Cabinet’s standing in the eyes of the grassroots: every single member has a positive rating, nearly all of which would have put them comfortably in the top ten during the ancien régime.

But how much of that is due to unfamiliarity? This isn’t usually something we scrutinise, but no fewer than 16 of the politicians above-listed had ‘Don’t Know’ as their highest single response, with a couple more avoiding that fate by a bare handful of votes. A blow to the egos of a few, perhaps, but it does also mean that those ministers still have plenty of scope to make a positive impression.

Here are a few of the other takeaways:

  • Javid leads the pack. The Chancellor holds onto the position he took last month, and continues to enjoy the dividends of a good leadership election. Remarkable to think that two months ago this spot was held by Penny Mordaunt, now on the backbenches.
  • Johnson in his prime. Theresa May departed our table with a score of -61.2 (that’s lower than Chris Grayling), so Boris Johnson’s +77.2 is a happy contrast. However, he ought to recall that at one point his predecessor recorded record-breaking positive scores too. Fail to deliver and his standing will fall, fast.
  • Rees-Mogg makes the podium. Perhaps unsurprising, but the titular star of our Moggcast is a hit with the membership. Leader of the House is a good position for retaining their favour too, as Andrea Leadsom discovered, as it offers numerous opportunities for scoring points off John Bercow.
  • Brexiteers on top. Also unsurprisingly, Leave-backing MPs dominate the top of the table – it isn’t until Liz Truss, in seventh place, that we find a minister who backed Remain in 2016. Amber Rudd, one of the surprise survivals of the reshuffle, is at the bottom of the table. Except…
  • Davidson in the doldrums. The Scottish Conservative leader has previously been relatively shielded from the ups and downs of the Cabinet, often chalking up podium positions as she focused her fire on the SNP. She is currently the lowest-ranked politician in the entire table, most likely fallout from her highly-publicised split with the Prime Minister and hostility to No Deal.
  • Survivor spread. Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a particular position pattern for those ministers who did appear in our previous table (apart from the generally improved scores). Truss, Michael Gove, and Steve Barclay are at the upper end of the table, Rudd and Brandon Lewis near the bottom.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Henry Hill: What Johnson’s reshuffle means for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

Boris Johnson has kicked off his premiership with one of the most brutal reshuffles in modern political history. But amidst all the bloodshed, what does it mean for the ‘Territorial Offices’: Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland?

Of the three Secretaries of State for the devolved nations, Alun Cairns is the only one to continue to serve in the new administration. On the face of it this looks like quite a feat, given that he campaigned to Remain in 2016 – but as we point out elsewhere this morning, one’s stance on Brexit is less important at the minute than one’s stance on Johnson.

Cairns staying in post means that he can continue to counter the efforts of Mark Drakeford, the small-n nationalist First Minister of Wales, to use Brexit to try and wring more constitutional concessions out of London. In particular there is a fight brewing over Johnson’s plans to replace EU grants with a Westminster-operated ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’, which devocrats fear will increase the role of the British Government in devolved nations.

During the leadership election, Cairns called on whoever won to set up a dedicated Downing Street team focused on protecting the Union. Let’s hope his new boss heeds that advice.

At the Northern Irish Office, meanwhile, Johnson’s decision is surprising and, if we’re honest, disappointing. Whilst he has cleared the extraordinarily low bar set by Jeremy Hunt, who proposed to keep the disastrous Karen Bradley in post, Julian Smith is not the man I would have chosen to send to this crucial ministry at this particular hour.

Whilst there is an argument to be made that Smith will have important first-hand experience dealing with the Democratic Unionists due to his service as Chief Whip, there is little evidence that his relationship with them is particularly good. As Sam McBride points out, this is the third pro-Remain Ulster Secretary in a row, and Smith has clashed with the DUP over the backstop. He is scarcely the man to take the fight to those spinning for Dublin in the British, Irish, and European press.

This is especially disappointing because earlier reports suggested that the position was hotly contested, with the Sun reporting that “one of the most hotly fought spats is over who will get the Cabinet job of Northern Ireland Secretary.” Gavin Williamson, who negotiated the original Conservative/DUP pact in 2017, was said to be contending with Conor Burns, who would be the first-ever Northern Irish-born Roman Catholic to serve in the role.

Instead, the position seems once again to have been used as somewhere to place a minister you need to put in the Cabinet – and a role for the former Chief Whip must probably always be found – but for whatever reason don’t want to give something with a higher profile. We must hope that, should Johnson win an autumn election, he takes the opportunity to appoint someone else.

Finally, Scotland. The decision to dismiss David Mundell is an interesting one, because the former Scottish Secretary was a close ally of Ruth Davidson and the decision has reportedly strained relations (yet further…) between the new Prime Minister and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Of course, there is definitely a case for a fresh face at the Scottish Office. Notwithstanding any criticism of Mundell’s tenure, and he does have his critics, it is a simple fact that he has served in the post for nine years – and for seven of them he was the Party’s only Scottish MP. A happy consequence of the 2017 breakthrough is that Johnson now has a much broader pool to draw on when it comes to staffing the Scottish Office.

There is also the fact that Mundell was one of those Secretaries of State who defied the whip on Brexit issues under Theresa May. If Johnson is looking to assert his authority, cracking down on such conduct was almost inevitable.

Although he has a lower profile than some other members of the 2017 intake, Jack is a well-respected and long-serving figure in the Scottish Conservatives. He also holds his borders seat – once the only Tory seat in Scotland from 2001 to 2005 – with a relatively healthy majority of over 5,600 votes. Perhaps most importantly, he voted Leave in 2016.

With Stephen Daisley reporting that certain anonymous “allies of Ruth Davidson” are once again talking up the prospect of splitting off the Scottish Tories – a scheme the woman herself has always rejected in no uncertain terms – Jack’s appointment once again highlights the tensions between their Westminster caucus and the Conservative leadership in Edinburgh. Given that this Government owes its existence to the Scottish Conservatives’ revival, Johnson and his allies must treat them with respect and take their concerns seriously.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

ConHome’s Ministerial recommendations: how did we do and what did we learn?

Here is our recommended Cabinet list from June 21.

  • On the credit side, Boris Johnson’s appointments and our recommendations coincided in four cases.  Sajid Javid became Chancellor of the Exchequer; Robert Buckland (pictured), Justice Secretary; Nicky Morgan, Culture Secretary and James Cleverly, Party Chairman.
  • He also kept Matt Hancock as Health, as we advised, plus Natalie Evans as Leader of the Lords, Alun Cairns as Wales Secretary and Geoffrey Cox as Attorney-General.
  • We recommended the following new or returned Cabinet members. Dominic Raab as Brexit Secretary (he was appointed Foreign Secretary).  Alok Sharma, as Work and Pensions Secretary (he was made International Development Secretary).  Theresa Villiers, as Northern Ireland Secretary (she was appointed Environment Secretary).  Gavin Williamson as Transport Secretary (he was made Education Secretary). Andrea Leadsom, as Commons Leader (she was appointed Business Secretary).
  • That’s four successes and nine part-successes.

– – – – – – – – – –

  • On the debit side, the following Ministers who we recommended for promotion or retention were dismissed: Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt, Damian Hinds and David Mundell.
  • And the following Ministers or backbenchers who we suggested be promoted to Cabinet were not: Steve Baker, Kit Malthouse, George Eustice and Greg Hands.
  • That’s eight failures.

– – – – – – – – – –

  • Of that final group, five of the eight were Leavers. But only one of them, Malthouse, voted for Johnson – and that after he himself expressed an interest in standing.  A reminder that the most reliable key to promotion in this shuffle wasn’t having backed Leave in the referendum – it was supporting Johnson in the leadership election.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Johnson is set to face an early general election. His Cabinet must be ruthlessly shaped to fight it – on a No Deal platform.

Conventional Cabinet-forming means representing as wide a Party spectrum as possible, and sending Ministers to departments that they will hopefully run for several years.

The unique circumstances that Boris Johnson will face in a month or so, if as expected he wins this Conservative leadership election, require tearing up that usual wisdom – and taking risks.

No Deal is not Johnson’s preferred option (nor should it be).  But we will all know whether he is prepared ultimately to lead Britain out of the EU without a deal and honour the referendum result by the Cabinet that he appoints.

It must be one whose members are all signed up to No Deal if necessary, and an election if Parliament prevents Brexit on October 31.

For a Prime Minister Johnson will not be able to afford Cabinet splits, resignations, noises off – or election campaign rows.

Sure, he will, in effect, have no Commons majority: but that problem will not be solved by forming a Cabinet of anti-No-Dealers-at-any-cost as well as of No Dealers-in-the-last-resort.  That way lies the fate of Theresa May.

Instead, he must throw the dice.  His Government must push for No Deal if necessary.  Or for an election on a No Deal manifesto if his Government is no confidenced while seeking to deliver it.

If an election is forced on the Conservatives without Brexit having been delivered, only the most strenuous effort to push it through the Commons, without a deal if necessary, stands a chance of warding off Nigel Farage.

It follows that Johnson must be ruthless – and move as fast as possible while the authority of his expected leadership win is fresh.  Out must go Philip Hammond, Greg Clark, David Gauke plus, it seems, Rory Stewart, and others.

It seems unlikely that Amber Rudd’s affection for Johnson will overcome her anti-No Deal convictions.  So be it.  The diciest, most difficult task of all will be squaring Ruth Davidson and Scotland’s Conservatives.

Here is the kind of shuffle that he should now start to plan.  It is drawn up to meet three non-negotiable requirements.

First, its members must be prepared to sign up to a Johnson policy of Brexiting on October 31.

Second, it should, within that parameter, be drawn as widely as possible from across the Party.

Third, its members will ideally have some experience of the department to which they will be sent.

Finally, they should also be chosen with an eye to presentation skills during an election campaign.

We suggest roughly as follows.

– – –

Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Jeremy Hunt.

The expected runner-up must be bound in completely to the Johnson administration.  The new Prime Minister should delegate much of the day-to-day running of the Government to him.  Hunt will be reluctant to leave the Foreign Office, but could not refuse the promotion, unless he is determined to resist the October 31 deadline.

Brexit Secretary: Dominic Raab.

The EU must be sent the clearest possible signal that Britain intends to leave the EU at the end of October.  There could be none less ambiguous than sending Raab back to his old job.  That he knows the department is another advantage.

Chancellor of the Exchequer: Sajid Javid.

The present Home Secretary is committed to that October 31 deadline, can be relied upon to swing the Treasury behind No Deal preparation, is economically literate, and in an election campaign would be an aspiration icon as well as an attack dog.

Foreign Secretary: Liam Fox.

The International Trade Secretary isn’t a Johnson fan, but he voted against the extension of Article 50, is a very experienced Minister…and not at all someone you’d want loose on the back benches in current circumstances.  He could hold the fort in the Foreign Office during an election’s duration.

Home Secretary: Penny Mordaunt.

The doctrine is that a woman must hold a great office of state, and it justifies moving Mordaunt out of defence, and promoting her.  Though a Hunt supporter during this contest, she opposed extension in the Commons lobbies, and was part of the 2016 Vote Leave team.  She is well placed to strike the right balance on immigration policy.

Defence Secretary: Michael Gove.

There is a strong case for sending him to the Foreign Office, to try to help heal the wounds of this contest.  But defence will be an important element of any election campaign, and Gove could be relied upon to make the most of it.  He may have no experience of the department, but he has certainly pondered the role.

Business Secretary: Liz Truss.

The Chief Secretary is naturally combative, gutsy and a reformer..  She would therefore be a risky fit in an outward-facing, voter-sensitive department such as education – at least during an election.  But as a critic of the Business Department, she would run it will an exacting eye, and treat the corporate lobbies with a healthy scepticism.

Justice Secretary: Robert Buckland.

The Prisons Minister is, in Tory terms, well left-of-centre – a stalwart of the Tory Reform Group.  He is also capable, a Johnson backer, and a realist.  Geoffrey Cox should go to the Justice Ministry soon, but is needed for continuity in the Brexit talks.  Buckland, a lawyer and former Minister in the department, will do very nicely in the meantime.

Trade Secretary: Greg Hands.

It may be that Government policy on Heathrow would prevent Hands’ return, but he was a Minister of State in the department, understands trade policy, and is one of the Party’s best-briefed opponents of a customs union, against which he has written frequently on this site.

Health Secretary: Matt Hancock.

He is running the department with an absence of fuss, has avoided NHS disputes, understands the relationship between technology and healthcare, brings enthusiasm to everything he does – and has therefore written the case, despite his Treasury ambitions and leadership campaign, for staying exactly where he is.

Education Secretary: Damian Hinds.

It is very tempting to give a new policy (showering the department with money) a new face.  The itch should be resisted.  In an election campaign, it is best to have someone in place who understands the department and the issues – and who can present calmly and clearly, as Hinds does.

Work and Pensions Secretary: Alok Sharma.

The Work and Pensions Minister knows his way round the department as a senior Minister in it, is a Johnson backer in this contest, and has been unlucky not to make it to the top table before.  If Rudd won’t serve or is too risky an appointment, Sharma would slot straight in.

Environment Secretary: George Eustice.

Like Ed Vaizey (never appointed Culture Secretary) or Nick Gibb (never appointed Education Secretary), Eustice is one of the club of Ministers-Or-Former-Ministers-Who-Know-Their-Subject.  An honourable and prescient resigner over Brexit policy, he is well-known to the farming lobby and would be all over No Deal preparations.

Housing Secretary: Kit Malthouse.

Now purged, at least for a while, of his own leadership ambitions, Malthouse served under Johnson during the latter’s Mayoral period. He understands the brief, is in place at the department, and would offer, as he would put it, “a fresh face”.  Bring the Malthouse Compromise into the Cabinet.

Culture Secretary: Nicky Morgan.

Talking of Malthouse, let’s reinvent Morgan.  Our columnist is the ultimate Good Egg, having both a strong sense of Party unity and a willingness in extremis to back a No Deal plan.  We don’t want to lose her, but she would be a more-than-useful ambassador from Johnson to the Party’s centre-left.

Northern Ireland Secretary: Theresa Villiers.

This is one of the most daunting appointments of all, given the challenge of dealing with Ireland’s Government.  Villiers is a Brexiteer who understands Northern Ireland, having served there as Secretary of State, and knows the players.  If anyone can square conviction, knowledge and diplomacy, it is Villiers.

Transport Secretary: Gavin Willamson.

Johnson has little choice but to return to Cabinet the man who has successfully managed the whipping of the first stage of this leadership campaign.  It is a very fine judgement as to whether to send him back to head up the Whips’ Office.  On balance, we think it best he be given a department of his own that he will run with enthusiasm.

International Development Secretary: Priti Patel.

The new Prime Minister will need supporters in Cabinet, and people who are committed to Brexit.  Patel fits both categories.  She understands the department, grasps the need for aid money to be spent wisely, and would slot in neatly back there.

Scotland Secretary: David Mundell.

This is arguably the most crucial appointment of all.  No Deal, or a No Deal election, presents particular challenges in Scotland.  Johnson’s support among Tory Scottish MPs has been minimal in the Parliamentary stage of this contest, and he should must be prepared to give the experienced Mundell as much leeway as possible.

Wales Secretary: Alun Cairns.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Party Chairman: James Cleverly.

Cleverly radiates a sense of confidence rare among top-flight politicians, understands social media, is calm on TV, has CCHQ experience, and is itching to do the job.  Now that his own leadership campaigning has calmed down, he can be expected to work well with Lynton Crosby, who will surely return.

Leader of the Lords: Natalie Evans.

Again, if it ain’t broke, etc.

– – –

Entitled to attend –

Leader of the Commons: Andrea Leadsom

Continuity knocks.  Leadsom has blossomed as Leader of the House.  There’s no reason to move her.

Chief Whip: Steve Barclay

This is a hard call, and there are arguments for sending for Williamson, or taking a quite different tack and approaching Graham Brady.  Barclay is a Leaver and an ex-Whip – at one point the only Brexiteer in the office.  He is calm, methodical, well-liked…and was a Johnson voter this week.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Julian Smith

Never sack a former Chief Whip.

Brexit Minister of State: Steve Baker

Johnson should cut the number of Ministers entitled to attend Cabinet, but he could do a lot worse than put Baker, under Raab, back in his old department in charge of No Deal preparations, and allow him to contribute when Brexit policy is being discussed.

Attorney-General: Geoffrey Cox

See “Justice Secretary”.

– – –

So that’s –

23 full Cabinet Ministers, as now (including Johnson).

Six women full Cabinet members. There are five now.

Three visible ethnic minority members.  There is one now.

Eight original Johnson voters in this contest plus four people who switched to back him.

– – –

There are a mass of Ministers and others who would need care and attention.  With no majority, Ministers leaving through the exit door, Team Johnson members queueing at the entrance, other Ministers champing at the bit for promotion and other leadership candidates’ backers to keep quiet, this will be the devil of a shuffle to manage.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iain Dale: Dark arts, Williamson – and how vote-lending stuffed Raab, Stewart…and Gove

Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

So it’s to be Bozzer v Jezza. Will it be Tory Wars – or a campaign which can in some way bring the party together? One thing is for sure, it will be very different to the Parliamentary side of the campaign. There won’t be any vote-lending for a start.

Now we move on to the campaign in the country, where the final two candidates will speak at a series of hustings organised by CCHQ. Many of you will be attending them, and help put the two finalists through their paces.

I’ll be compering ten of these hustings, up and down the country, starting in the West Midlands tomorrow. It promises to be quite an experience.

We will never know how much ‘vote-lending’ went on in this election, but it’s a fair bet to assume that it happened far more than in any previous contest. In some ways, when there is a candidate whose vote total far outstrips any other, it is inevitable, especially when the campaign’s chief ‘whipper in’ is someone as skilled in the dark arts as Gavin Williamson.

At least, that is what many Tory MPs are assuming. Vote-lending has allowed Boris Johnson, in effect, to choose his opponent in the final round. The Raab campaign is convinced that their man was targeted in the second round of voting. They believe that at least eight Johnson supporters were encouraged to lend their votes to Sajid Javid, in the hope that he would get through to the next round at the expense of arch-Brexiteer Raab.

In that round, Raab’s vote went up from 27 to 30, while Javid’s soared from 23 to 33, therefore just squeezing across the line. Job done. Raab was out.

It is also suspected that the almost doubling of Rory Stewart’s vote from 19 to 37 was in part down to vote-lending too. Given that in the next ballot his vote plummeted by 10, it’s easy to see why. Keith Simpson is right. It really is the most duplicitous electorate in the world! Stewart’s campaign is understandably a bit vexed about this turn of events, but in the end, both he and Raab didn’t get through for the simple reason that they didn’t have enough votes.

Both Stewart and Raab may be out of this contest, but both have burnished their reputations. It’s inconceivable that Raab won’t be offered a major cabinet post by whoever emerges triumphant.

Stewart’s quixotic campaign was very effective in that he is now a major national name, even if it irritated many of his colleagues. He’s the new media darling, with such commentators as Robert Peston viewing him almost as the second coming. He became box office, because he knew how to play the media, and it was only too willing to dance to his maverick tune.

Having ruled out serving in a Johnson cabinet, and on the assumption that the latter wins, Stewart has placed himself firmly as the head of the leader of the internal Tory opposition.  And believe me, there’s quite some competition for that post. If everything goes wrong with a Johnson premiership, Stewart can emerge and say ‘told you so’, having kept his hands clean.

In the last two days of the campaign, however, he vastly overplayed his hand to the point where even some of his admirers were left wondering how much this was all about principle and how much it was about ego. The dramatic taking off of his tie two minutes into the BBC debate was a great act of symbolism. Was it spontaneous, or was it pre-planned? He hoped that it would demonstrate his man of the people credentials. All it did was make him look a bit odd.

A lot has been said about the direness of the BBC debate, so I won’t dwell on it for too long here. I couldn’t watch it as it was broadcast during my radio show. We had asked the BBC if we could simulcast it, but they refused. It’s the unique way they’re funded, you see.

As it turns out, we had a lucky escape. All we were allowed to broadcast was a total of four minutes afterwards. And believe me, my producers struggled to find four minutes worth putting out. Dreadful hardly covers it. The format was wrong, the set was wrong and the question selection was bizarre. It made the Channel Four debate look like a blockbuster event by comparison.

– – – – – – – – – –

This week I completed my interviews with 9 of the final 10 candidates in this leadership contest. The long form one hour format really worked, with me interviewing them all for half an hour followed by half an hour of listener calls. The final two interviews, with Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove on Wednesday were, I thought, perhaps the pick of the lot, but as the host, perhaps I am the wrong person to judge.

I felt these interviews got far more out of the candidates than any debate format ever could. I still remain in hope that I’ll be able to complete the set over the next couple of weeks and that Boris Johnson will grace the LBC studio with his presence.

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Which MP is backing which candidate. Our named estimates. Johnson 112, Hunt 44, Gove 34, Javid 21, Stewart 14

The arms race to name supporters has begun, and on balance we’ve decided to join it.

We have been compiling our own list for some time both of declared and undeclared supporters of possible contenders.

Some names will doubtless come off one column and be added to another…only perhaps later to revert to the original.

At any rate, here we go: as we wrote recently, what strikes us so far is how fluid the Parliamentary stage of the contest is presently set to be.

– – –

Boris Johnson – 112

  • Nigel Adams
  • Stuart Andrew
  • Steve Baker
  • Steve Barclay
  • Paul Beresford

 

  • Jake Berry
  • Peter Bone
  • Andrew Bowie NEW
  • Ben Bradley
  • Andrew Bridgen

 

  • James Brokenshire
  • Robert Buckland
  • Conor Burns
  • Alun Cairns
  • Bill Cash

 

  • Rehman Chisti NEW
  • Therese Coffey
  • Damian Collins
  • Colin Clark
  • Simon Clarke

 

  • James Cleverly
  • Geoffrey Cox
  • Tracey Crouch NEW
  • Leo Docherty
  • Nadine Dorries

 

  • Oliver Dowden
  • Richard Drax
  • James Duddridge
  • Iain Duncan Smith
  • Michael Ellis

 

  • Charlie Elphicke
  • Nigel Evans
  • David Evennett
  • Michael Fallon
  • Mark Francois

 

  • Lucy Frazer
  • Marcus Fysh
  • Zac Goldsmith
  • Chris Grayling
  • Andrew Griffiths

 

  • Matt Hancock
  • Simon Hart
  • James Heappey
  • Chris Heaton-Harris
  • Ranil Jayawardena

 

  • Bernard Jenkin
  • Andrea Jenkyns NEW
  • Robert Jenrick
  • Caroline Johnson
  • Jo Johnson

 

  • David Jones
  • Daniel Kawczynski
  • Greg Knight
  • Kwasi Kwarteng
  • Mark Lancaster

 

  • Andrea Leadsom
  • Andrew Lewer
  • Julian Lewis
  • Ian Liddell-Grainger NEW
  • Jack Lopresti

 

  • Craig Mackinlay
  • Stephen McPartland
  • Esther McVey
  • Ann Main
  • Kit Malthouse

 

  • Scott Mann
  • Paul Maynard NEW
  • Johnny Mercer
  • Amanda Milling
  • Andrew Mitchell

 

  • Damian Moore
  • Anne Marie Morris NEW
  • Sheryll Murray
  • Andrew Murrison
  • Matthew Offord

 

  • Priti Patel
  • Owen Paterson
  • Mike Penning
  • Andrew Percy
  • Mark Pritchard

 

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg
  • John Redwood
  • Lawrence Robertson
  • Douglas Ross
  • Andrew Rossindell

 

  • Lee Rowley
  • Bob Seely NEW
  • Grant Shapps
  • Alok Sharma
  • Chloe Smith

 

  • Henry Smith
  • Andrew Stephenson
  • Bob Stewart
  • Graham Stuart
  • Julian Sturdy

 

  • Rishi Sunak
  • Desmond Swayne
  • Ross Thomson
  • Justin Tomlinson
  • Craig Tracey

 

  • David Tredinnick
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan
  • Liz Truss
  • Martin Vickers NEW
  • Theresa Villiers

 

  • Ben Wallace
  • David Warburton
  • Matt Warman
  • Heather Wheeler NEW
  • John Whittingdale

 

  • Gavin Williamson

Jeremy Hunt – 44

  • Harriet Baldwin
  • Peter Bottomley
  • Steve Brine
  • Alistair Burt
  • James Cartlidge

 

  • Jo Churchill
  • Greg Clark
  • Glyn Davies
  • Alan Duncan
  • Caroline Dinenage NEW

 

  • Jonathan Djonogly NEW
  • Philip Dunne
  • Mark Field
  • Vicky Ford
  • Liam Fox

 

  • Mike Freer
  • Mark Garnier
  • Nus Ghani
  • Robert Goodwill
  • Roger Gale

 

  • Richard Graham
  • Greg Hands
  • Oliver Heald
  • Nick Herbert
  • John Howell

 

  • Andrew Jones
  • John Lamont
  • Alan Mak
  • Patrick McLoughlin
  • Huw Merriman

 

  • Penny Mordaunt
  • David Morris
  • James Morris
  • Will Quince
  • Mark Pawsey

 

  • John Penrose
  • Mark Prisk
  • Amber Rudd
  • Royston Smith
  • Alec Shelbrooke

 

  • Keith Simpson
  • Iain Stewart
  • Helen Whateley

Michael Gove – 34

  • Peter Aldous
  • Richard Bacon
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Karen Bradley
  • Jack Brereton

 

  • Alberto Costa
  • David Duguid
  • George Eustice
  • Michael Fabricant
  • Nick Gibb

 

  • Luke Graham
  • Bill Grant
  • Kirstene Hair
  • John Hayes
  • Trudy Harrison

 

  • Damian Hinds
  • Kevin Hollinrake
  • Stephen Kerr
  • Edward Leigh
  • Oliver Letwin

 

  • Rachel Maclean
  • Mark Menzies
  • Anne Milton
  • Nicky Morgan
  • David Mundell

 

  • Bob Neill
  • Guy Opperman
  • Neil Parish
  • Claire Perry
  • John Stevenson

 

  • Mel Stride
  • Tom Tugendhat
  • Ed Vaizey

Sajid Javid – 22

  • Lucy Allan
  • Edward Argar
  • Victoria Atkins
  • Fiona Bruce
  • Stephen Crabb

 

  • Mims Davies
  • Kevin Foster
  • John Glen
  • Robert Halfon
  • Luke Hall

 

  • Simon Hoare
  • Caroline Nokes
  • Chris Philp
  • Mary Robinson
  • Andrew Selous

 

  • Chris Skidmore
  • Gary Streeter
  • Derek Thomas
  • Robin Walker
  • Mike Wood

 

  • Jeremy Wright

Rory Stewart – 14

  • Richard Benyon
  • Ken Clarke
  • Tobias Ellwood
  • David Gauke
  • Dominic Grieve

 

  • Margot James
  • Gillian Keegan
  • David Lidington
  • Paul Masterton
  • Victoria Prentis

 

  • Antoinette Sandbach
  • Caroline Spelman
  • Nicholas Soames

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From Reggie to Rory Sahib: Here at Westminster, you can smell the fear and ambition

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-09-09-at-11.14.55 From Reggie to Rory Sahib: Here at Westminster, you can smell the fear and ambition Tom Watson MP Sir Nicholas Soames MP Sir Michael Fallon MP Matthew Hancock MP Light relief Labour Jeremy Corbyn MP James Cleverly MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Gordon Brown MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Conservatives Conservative leadership election 2019 Comment Carlton Club Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrew Mitchell MP Andrea Leadsom MP From: Reggie@toptory.lidl.com

To: Rory.Stewart@Maiwand.com

Subject: The Never-Ending Leadership Contest

Rory Sahib!

I must congratulate you and your team at fighting a very successful insurgency. All that wandering around the countryside and use of social media has certainly spooked the other candidates. As I told Soames last week, I never thought you’d get 19 votes – Soames went into his conspiratorial mode and whispered (which could be heard in Trafalgar Square): “some of us know how to stroke the fillies or at the very least give them a mickey finn”.  I think he sees himself as your Gavin Williamson – the Tom Watson of the numbers game for Boris.

But I have to tell you, old friend, that your idea of having Brexit resolved by some form of Country File jirga is for the fairies. I don’t let my activists elect the officers, let alone anything really serious in my Association.

I have been much amused to see how the candidates who fell at the first fence or were scrapped from the fixture have rallied around Boris – Hancock, Leadsom, McVey and Cleverly. Of course, many of the sacked ministers – Fallon, Mitchell, Shapps and a dozen others are hoping for preferment under a Boris administration. Suspect hope springs eternal, and many will continue to vegetate on the back benches.

You might not recall from your army days how agitated the senior brass in Germany became when the C-in-C was replaced by a new brass hat. Fat lot of good, as they usually appointed thrusters with the same cap badge – Green Jackets and Guardsmen.

Whilst you were out stirring up apathy and performing on TV, I spent the weekend in Northumberland at our small residence. Lady Mary was out doing good works and I settled down with several bottles and the jack russells to watch every episode of Killing Eve. These female dramas are very violent and I suspect Parliament will be like this in a decade.

I switched off my mobile phone to stop the campaign managers of the candidates attempting to persuade me to declare my vote. Did I tell you that last week one of these babus offered me the promissory note of a knighthood? – I gently pointed out I had already been blessed.

The real question to be answered is: where is Boris? His team have understandably put him under house arrest, and sworn him to a vow of silence. Soames and I can guarantee that, if let off the leash, he will drop several clangers. I said to Soames that Boris has become the Gordon Brown of the Conservative Party. Desperate to be PM since at prep school, but hasn’t the foggiest idea what he wants to do with it. Ben Wallace who looks after the spooks and is the Boris cup bearer told me, over a tincture at the Carlton Club, that I need have no worries – and that, as when he was Mayor of London, Boris would be surrounded by “grown up adults.” All he had to do was the panto. I pointed out that being PM was somewhat more challenging than being Mayor!

Well another day of excitement and hysteria here at the Palace of Varieties – you must be aware that only here can you smell fear and ambition. My Labour friends have cheerily offered to give us some advice over the leadership stakes. I pointed out that it was a bit rich coming from a PLP that had Corbyn.

Did you see that some experts have said that dogs can manipulate humans by putting on droopy eyes. Never seen it myself – I have seen a glint in the eyes of my jacks when rattin’.

Well, Rory Sahib, it is nearly all over one way or the other. Good luck with the vote and keep your opponents off guard.

Soames and I will be at The Flouncing Queen restaurant in Victoria on Thursday evening for a serious bevy of liquid delights.

Yours behind enemy lines.

Reggie

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