Could this be the shape of the next Cabinet?

TORY LEADERSHIP ELECTION
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The Independent Online
BY DONALD MACINTYRE

Political Editor

Stand by for the John Redwood fantasy Cabinet. It's carefully balanced; it brings in some new blood; it forgives and forgets some who campaigned for John Major against him; and it has absolutely no basis in fact.

Indeed Mr Redwood, sensibly, has given no inkling of who would make up his team - beyond saying at his launch press conference that he would be glad to offer Norman Lamont, who gracefully withdrew his own candidacy in Mr Redwood's favour, a place in a government if Mr Lamont wanted it. He has also indicated that he would want a politically balanced Cabinet, provided it accepted the broad parameters of the former Welsh Secretary's sense of policy direction.

Let's assume, therefore, that Kenneth Clarke - who crisply said on Monday that he did not think the Tories "could win an election in 1,000 years on this ultra right-wing programme" - will fold up his tent, along with Michael Heseltine.

Mr Redwood will have, let us suppose, to fulfil a number of objectives: putting at least two of his ideological allies in two great offices of state; including a handful of left-wingers to ensure a decent balance; installing some capable heavyweights irrespective of their allegiances; and promoting some new Nineties talent.

On the centre-left, Malcolm Rifkind would have a key role - and happens to hold views on the single currency not a million miles from Mr Redwood's own. Stephen Dorrell might well remain - though probably in the traditional post for the politically semi-detached: Wales.

At health he will need a politically acute bruiser with a real feel for the subject. So never mind that Brian Mawhinney is campaigning effectively for Mr Major. And he will need some new blood: so what better than two possible candidates for the top, from the next generation: David Willetts and William Hague.

Mr Howard, a QC whose views on Europe are close to Mr Redwood's but who campaigned for Mr Major makes way for Gillian Shephard at the Home Office, but stays in the Cabinet as Lord Chancellor.

One area where Mr Redwood has explicitly said he has no difference with John Major is the Northern Ireland peace process.

However,it is hard to see Sir Patrick Mayhew remaining in a Redwood team. It therefore makes sense for him to promote Michael Ancram, Sir Patrick's capable minister of state. The rest speak for themselves.

John Redwood's 'Fantasy Cabinet'

Prime Minister............................................. John Redwood

Chancellor of the Exchequer.............................. Peter Lilley

Foreign Secretary........................................ Michael Portillo

Lord Chancellor................................. [Lord] Michael Howard Home Secretary......................................... Gillian Shepherd

President of the Board of Trade................ Norman Lamont

Leader of the Commons...................................... Eric Forth

Environment Secretary............................... Malcolm Rifkind

Social Security Secretary.............................. William Hague

Minister of Agriculture.................................... Neil Hamilton

Scottish Secretary...................................... Michael Forsyth

Northern Ireland Secretary......................... Michael Ancram

Health Secretary....................................... Brian Mawhinney

Education Secretary....................................... David Willetts

Defence Secretary...................................... Jonathan Aitken

Employment Secretary............................. Ann Widdecombe

Chief Secretary to the Treasury..................... Edward Leigh

Transport Secretary......................................... David Davis

National Heritage....................................... David Maclean

Lord Privy Seal.................................................. Lord Tebbit

Welsh Secretary......................................... Stephen Dorrell

Party Chairman............................................ Sir Tom Arnold

Chief Whip...................................................... David Evans

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