David Cameron set to reshuffle Cabinet

 

David Cameron will this week attempt to reclaim the political initiative as MPs return to Westminster after a bruising summer marked by an outbreak of internal dissent over his leadership.

The Prime Minister will seek to reassert his authority over his restive Conservative Party with his first Cabinet re-shuffle since the coalition took office in 2010.

At the same time ministers are preparing a series of high-profile announcements intended to inject new life into the moribund economy and pull the country out of recession.

Mr Cameron used an article for a Sunday newspaper to declare his determination to end the "paralysis" and "cut through the dither" that was holding the country back.

His comments were seen as a riposte to Tories like London Mayor Boris Johnson who accused him of "pussyfooting around" and Tim Yeo who questioned whether he was "man or mouse".

However he faces an immediate challenge from the Tory right, with David Davis - who fought him for the party leadership in 2005 - setting out his alternative strategy for growth.

Before proceedings in the Commons have even started today, Mr Davis will use a lunchtime speech to the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank to call for a radical programme of cuts to taxes, regulation and public spending to kick-start the economy.

Chancellor George Osborne made clear at the weekend that he was sticking to his economic guns, insisting - in an echo of Margaret Thatcher - that "there is no alternative" that offers an easy way out of the current difficulties.

He sought, however, to revive party morale with the promise of new Bills to allow the Government to use its balance sheet to underwrite new construction projects and to speed up the planning process in an attempt to boost new development.

However, even that is likely to prove controversial with some Tories, as well as their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, after he suggested existing rules could be used to allow building on Green Belt land if an equivalent area of land elsewhere was brought into the Green Belt.

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron's party management skills will be put to the test as he seeks to re-boot his Government with a reshuffle of his top team.

Many of the most senior figures are expected to remain in their present posts - including Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Home Secretary Theresa May, Education Secretary Micheal Gove, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond - leaving limited room for manoeuvre.

Much attention has focused on the key role of Conservative Party Chairman. Baroness Warsi has publicly appealed to Mr Cameron to allow her to carry on in the post, but some Tory MPs want to see her replaced with a big hitter who can galvanise support for the party.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling and Housing Minister Grant Shapps have been touted as possible alternatives from outside the Cabinet.

Mr Cameron may carry out a more far-reaching shuffle when he comes to the middle and lower ministerial ranks, taking the opportunity to get rid of under-performers and to blood new talent from the the 2010 intake of new MPs.

The reshuffle could also give Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg the opportunity to bring former treasury chief secretary David Laws back in from the cold after he was forced to resign over his parliamentary expenses just weeks after taking office.

The Lib Dem leader has also endured a difficult summer. Business Secretary Vince Cable was forced to come out at the weekend to defend him after some in the party began calling for him to replace Mr Clegg as leader.

There were claims that Mr Cable was "on manoeuvres" after his close ally, Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, warned the party may need a change of "management and strategy" if it was to stand any chance at the next general election.

Labour MP John Mann said Mr Laws should not be brought back into the Government until the voters have had a chance to pass judgment on him in an election.

Mr Mann argued that any MP caught up in scandal should have to face the electorate before being considered for a return to Government office. He cited the case of Tory former minister Cecil Parkinson, who resigned from Margaret Thatcher's government in 1983 and did not return to the Cabinet until after the 1987 election.

Mr Laws was suspended from the Commons for seven days last year after a parliamentary inquiry found he had overclaimed expenses.

Mr Mann said: "There is no moral or ethical difference between David Laws or those MPs who went to prison. Parliament has had its say on David Laws and the voters are also entitled to their say.

"Like Cecil Parkinson, David Laws should face the jury of the British people at the ballot box before re-entering Government. There is a fundamental principle of British democracy at stake in this issue. Mrs Thatcher upheld her principles and David Cameron should do the same."

Mr Cameron's official spokesman refused to comment today on the timing or content of the expected reshuffle.

But he confirmed that the regular weekly meeting of Cabinet will take place tomorrow morning at the usual time.

This sparked some speculation among Westminster observers that any Cabinet-level changes could take place later today, to allow the new team to be in place in time for tomorrow's meeting.

Downing Street also released a schedule of ministerial engagements over the coming week, which include events for some of those who have been tipped for the chop, including Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own