22 Mar 2015 at 13:53
Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to look at a few post-election scenarios in terms of possible cabinet line-ups and who might stand in any of the various leadership contests the election result might throw up.
Let’s start by looking at a possible Cameron Cabinet. I’m going to compile it on the premise that Cameron is running either a majority or minority administration, with no coalition partner. The first thing to say is that Cameron has little room for manoeuvre in the top jobs. George Osborne made very clear to me in my interview with him on Friday that he wants and expects to stay at the Treasury. Philip Hammond is a relatively new Foreign Secretary and would not expect to be switched. But if he stays put, would Theresa May really expect to start another five year stint at the Home Office? She’s done a remarkably good job, and I reckon she would be moved to the Foreign Office with Philip Hammond maybe moving the other way or moving to Business.
It’s striking how David Cameron has stuffed his Minister of State and Parliamentary Under Secretary jobs with a succession of mediocrities. There are a few brighter lights but by aand large they are people who will never get into the Cabinet. It’s a major mistake. All Minister of States should be people who ought at some stage to be in the Cabinet.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: George Osborne
Foreign Secretary: Theresa May
Home Secretary: Michael Gove
Business Secretary: Philip Hammond
Education Secretary: Sajid Javid
Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Liz Truss
Work & Pensions Secretary: Mark Harper
Transport Secretary: Matthew Hancock
Leader of the House of Commons: Grant Shapps
Defence Secretary: Michael Fallon
Justice Secretary: Nicky Morgan
Energy & Climate Change Secretary: Andrea Leadsom
Culture Secretary: Priti Patel
Health Secretary: Jeremy Hunt
Local Government & Communities Secretary: Nick Boles
International Development: Jo Johnson
Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Stowell
Chief Whip: Greg Hands
Chariman of the Conservative Party: Claire Perry
Defra Secretary: Greg Clark
Scottish Secretary: David Mundell
Welsh Secretary: Stephen Crabb
Northern Ireland Secretary: Mike Penning
Minister without Portfolio: Boris Johnson
This means that Chris Grayling, Eric Pickles, William Hague, Justine Greening, Patrick McLoughlin, Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers would all leave the Cabinet. Seven out of 25 Cabinet Ministers would be women. If Esther McVey wins her seat, she would definitely be in a Cameron cabinet, but as I have projected her to lose her seat, as has Lord Ashcroft, I haven’t included her here.
I have to say this isn’t the Cabinet lineup I’d necessarily pick myself, but I think most of the people I have included are ones which David Cameron is likely to, even if they’re not necessarily in the right jobs! I did get more right than other commentators in the last reshuffle, but in this game you’re only as good as your last prediction. If I had the choice I’d keep Grayling and Pickles in the cabinet, but I suspect they will be sacrificed for more women. As for IDS, I don’t think he’d want a different job and I suspect he will think five years of welfare reform is more than enough for anyone.
COMING NEXT: Who would be in a Labour cabinet?