Labour’s plan to keep the details of its reshuffle a secret until tomorrow went spectacularly awry on Thursday evening after journalists found out much of it anyway, and two shadow ministers said they wanted to resign publicly before it looked like they had been sacked. (Was it #PickardJE who first broke news this morning that reshuffle had begun?)
Those two were John Healey, shadow health secretary and John Denham, shadow business secretary. Both have attracted criticism from within Labour. Healey was blamed for alowing the Lib Dems to look like they had led the opposition to the health bill (even though they signed off on it), while Denham has been blamed for not doing enough to win over business – although he has long said he didn’t want to stay for long.
So who else is tipped to be going where?
The justice secretary is at it again. As if he hadn’t done enough to upset his cabinet colleagues by calling into question the cat anecdote Theresa May used to attack the Human Rights Act, he’snow condemned her even more explicitly in an interview with the Nottingham Evening Post.
According to PA, Clarke told the paper:
It’s not only the judges that all get furious when the home secretary makes a parody of a court judgment, our commission who are helping us form our view on this are not going to be entertained by laughable child-like examples being given.
We have a policy and in my old-fashioned way when you serve in a government you express a collective policy of the government, you don’t go round telling everyone your personal opinion is different.
Grassroots party members are increasingly unhappy about annual conferences held in big city centres – prompting some ministers to call for a return to the traditional seaside town venue. One minister even told us that it might be time to scrap the format altogether in favour of regional events with a single one-off US-style convention before general elections.
Even watching the events on TV you can see that there are far fewer “ordinary” members at conference – they are instead swamped by suited lobbyists, hacks and other denizens of the Westminster village. “It feels more like a McKinsey corporate convention,” one Tory MP said yesterday.