It is the day before reshuffle day, and unsurprisingly, generous-spirited backbenchers are lining up to give David Cameron advice on what he should do. Here’s a response from Douglas Carswell, the Tory backbencher, which sums up the feelings of many on the right of the party:
They don’t need to reshuffle the people, they need to reshuffle the ideas and the thinking. They can reshuffle all the personnel they want, but it is a lack of ideas that is the problem.
But of course he does have some idea of people he thinks should be brought into government:
Kwasi Kwarteng, Liz Truss, Dominic Raab: there seem to know what free markets are all about.
The problem is for the prime minister that the more interventions like this, the more difficult it is to actually pursue that course. As Tim Bale, a professor in politics and expert on the Tory party points out:
People are telling Cameron to do two things: to appoint more people on the right and to stamp his authority on the party. But he can’t do both: it is a trade off between the two.
Bale’s point is that if Cameron appoints a load of right-wingers in the way that Carswell and others want him to, it will look like he has caved in to backbench pressure. If he tries to stamp his authority on the government, the ministers will surely look more centrist and Cameroon than his backbenchers might otherwise like.