A Prime Minister on a Mission: a reshuffle for the future
BY TIM DAWSON
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. “Who’s out?” everybody has been feverishly asking, and no, they’re not referring to Phillip Schofield. Finally, the reshuffle has hit – and we now know who will be taking us through this year’s FTA negotiations with the EU, and on into our bright and beautiful, and reassuringly Brexity, future.
This is a Prime Minister in complete control. All four great offices of state are now held by a Brexiteer – five, including Michael Gove, whose role in this government has once again expanded.
Perhaps the big surprise – though it was brewing – is the resignation of Sajid Javid, and the appointment of Rishi Sunak as the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. 39-year-old Sunak has enjoyed a meteoric rise; a Boris loyalist, he will bring sharpness and rigour to Number 11, and ensure that Prime Minister and Chancellor are once again working in tandem.
It’s perhaps glib to say the reshuffle is upsetting all the right people… But it is upsetting ALL the right people. David Gauke is fewmin’. Anna Soubry is gurnin’. Red Becky Long-Bailey is stampin’ her feet and screamin’ and screamin’ till she’s sick.
And that’s all to the good. What if these people were happy? I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only Conservative taking to my fainting couch and reaching for the smelling salts.
But Conservatives should be happy, and, more generally, Brexiteers should be happy too.
Suella Braverman’s appointment to Attorney General is particularly welcome. Since Tony Blair’s ill-considered late-90s constitutional reforms, there has been increasing confusion over the role of the Supreme Court, and recent years have seen an unprecedented political power grab. Lady Hale, in particular, has revealed herself to be more activist than impartial Judge. Braverman’s appointment will see a restitution of our constitutional norms.
And, of course, we are pleased to see Jacob Rees-Mogg remain in place as Leader of the House. A party favourite, procedural expert, and a witty, erudite performer, he will bring colour and good sense to the despatch box, and reassurance to the Conservative Party in the country. Plus, he’s kryptonite to the Corbynites – which is always good.
This is a government with much to do, which has been refashioned by the Prime Minister and his most senior advisor Dominic Cummings into the most apposite shape to do it. Delivering Free Trade Agreements with the USA, and the rest of the world; clamping down on crime; building more houses; reviving the high street; defending freedom and free speech (lots to do on this, and there have been some recent mis-steps)… The electorate who delivered Boris and the Tories their historic majority last December have high expectations.
Loyalty had to be entrenched. The breadth of the tasks this government has set itself, and the need to deliver, meant ultimate control had to be centred in Number 10. The hierarchy is clear, and reflected through-out the reshuffle, with the Prime Minister and Dominic Cummings exercising greater fluidity over less senior appointments. This, we must surmise, is the government Boris always wanted to lead.
But, for now, it’s Valentine’s Day. And the Prime Minister, like our country, is enjoying a date with destiny. Don’t tell Carrie.
Tim Dawson is a writer and journalist and the Editor of Free Market Conservatives. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson