The Tories: Grassroots will be a lot happier with Shapps

  • @andymcsmith

It was a good day yesterday for the dyed-in-the-wool Conservative Party activist, the kind of person who thinks that David Cameron has been too chummy with Nick Clegg and too keen on pleasing the floating voter, while ignoring the threat that UKIP poses to the party's traditional support.

The choice of party chairman is important to the party member because he or she has a substantial say in how the party is run. While Baroness Warsi, with her working-class, immigrant background, could reach out to sections of the community beyond the normal Tory fold, she did not appeal greatly to most of the party faithful, who will prefer Grant Shapps.

Yesterday, former Tory MP Matthew Parris claimed Baroness Warsi had failed as chairman because the party's grassroots were not ready for an Asian woman in the job.

Another aspect of the reshuffle is the way it has benefited politicians who prospered when Iain Duncan Smith was leader, while being less good for the metropolitan Tory modernisers who clustered around Mr Cameron when he was chosen. Many Tories are fond of Mr Duncan Smith.

Owen Paterson, who ran Mr Duncan Smith's leadership campaign in 2001, has also been promoted, but Nick Herbert, once one of Mr Cameron's "rising stars", walked out of the Government after failing to make it into the Cabinet.