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Wednesday 25th July 2012 | 13:47
The dire GDP figures have prompted some Lib Dem calls for George Osborne to be moved in the reshuffle. Which is almost a guarantee that he won't be moved.
But September 3 is still pencilled in Whitehall's diary for the revamp of the PM's top team and some bits of the tectonic plates look like they have been sorted.
First, the PM will not be tearing up departments (he's instintively against organisational change like this, thinking it a classic New Labour tactic), I'm told. So DCMS stays is as, as does Justice and Home Office. The smaller jobs in Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland will remain, not least because they are a way to balance out the Lib-Tory numbers.
Second, the PM is not keen on tearing up the party designations for each department that were decided in 2010 after much tortuous negotiation. So Tory Secretary of State posts will go to Tories and Lib Dem Secretary of State posts will go to Lib Dems.
The latest money in Whitehall is on Cabinet exits for Spelman, Gillan, Young, Moore and Clarke.
Chris Grayling to Justice (Clarke is understood to have told the PM in 2010 he only wanted a couple of years, tho maybe fighting rearguard action) would make sense. Insiders joke Grayling has the Midas touch given the gravity-defying employment figures.
Maria Miller is seen as a shoo-in for Welsh Secretary. Miller went to a comp in Bridgend and at least was raised in the country. Her handling of the thorny Remploy issue impressed some in No.10.
The removal of Caroline Spelman would mean another woman has to be found, but there aren't many at Minister of State level. Justine Greening could be moved away from Transport to DEFRA to save her the problem of a conflict over Heathrow expansion. Would Anne Milton or Eleanor Laing get the nod for another vacancy?
In theory the overall number of women would be maintained by replacing Jo Swinson for Moore as Scottish Secretary, but that's far from a done deal.
Grant Shapps could move to party chairman if Warsi was given DfID, in many ways her dream job. The thought of Andrew Mitchell (who has been v loyal) on the backbenches could be tempered by giving him a nice bauble like ISC chairman.
Jeremy Hunt has recovered much of the ground lost this year and is seen by some insiders as the perfect replacement for Lansley at Health. That was an idea floated at the start of the year and is back on.
If Lib Dems can only replace Lib Dems, there is a problem in finding a Cabinet slot for David Laws. But the DPM relies on him so much that that will have to be sorted: many see him as a cert for a ministerial job, though not necessarily Cabinet. He would be perfect for a cross-Whitehall coordination post in the Cabinet Office.
Sir George Young is well liked by all and could yet survive. But the PM may want to use the mini-PMQs of Business Questions every Thursday to bring in new talent.
I'd be amazed if the Osborne Praetorian Guard don't get promotions: Greg Hands, Matt Hancock, Nadhim Zahawi, Claire Perry among them.
Of course, Cabinet reshuffles are a mug's game in many ways, particularly when the PM has held off having one for so long. Many of the top jobs look set to remain unchanged, allowing Dave to insist he prefers continuity over Blair-like fiddling.
The one thing that seems sure is this: the message will be that this is not the last one before the election. The whips know they'd have a nightmare with party discipline if backbenchers felt their chance had gone before 2015.
Expect more reshuffle kerfuffles next year, or at least in 2014, too.
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