-Sunak will be delighted the reshuffle only leaked (in form of how the business department would be split rather then names) 24 hours before to Harry Cole and caught many by surprise. His team kept it quiet
-May have to go again if Raab goes, so far it is a limited reshuffle around the business department reform and replacing Zahawi
-Trade has been merged into business, science and digital taken out of culture (always an odd placing) to become own department which is a priority area for Sunak, energy department has been revived with a focus on energy security, cutting prices and net zero which was a leadership pledge (and something backed by Ed Miliband and which Labour have). In themselves, not bad departments to have but will be delays as Whitehall sorts itself out. Sunak not thought to be the biggest fan of the business department from his time at the Treasury and seeing it as not pro-business enough.
gets energy, time will tell if this is a slight demotion (government briefing just below great offices of state) but not a surprise he got one of the three jobs. A skilled media performer and energetic minister seen as a capable pair of hands though he didn't seem to do well on handling strikes with a hard-line approach, he will do something if Whitehall changes settle down but the Whitehall reforms will delay things. Don't expect much on climate change, this will be about energy security and prices though he will do something as he had a transport I suspect. Will be supported by Graham Stuart
, who had energy brief anyway for the not very green lead on climate, Andrew Bowie
moves from exports to energy
Deducted point for being Sunkaky on climate change, they accept it is happening, things need to be done and will do something but nowhere near enough. 7/10
gets science and tech after Gove refused to move from levelling up, essentially moving from culture and taking her brief with her in what is probably a promotion. Will allow her to (probably) keep piloting the online safety bill which would be my guess as to why she has this job (her intrests seem better suited to culture or other posts but parliament does lack science experts), will be going on maternity leave shortly. Science has often been shuffled from department to department but now has it's own with a secretary of state around the cabinet table and a PM who is very much keen on Silicon Valley, wanting one of our own. Will be joined by George Freeman
(who some suspect may be feeling he was better suited to this role then Donelan and he has had to deny being unhappy) and Paul Scully
who were both in appropriate roles anyway so just moving across
gets business, trade and remains head of board of trade+equalities so a promotion as moved from a sidelined role into a (if slimmer) still substantial department. The rising star of the Tory right has mostly avoided scandal at trade and managed to seem active while managing to contrast with Truss in taking a more deliberate pace, former finical services figure who I wonder might have been a better choice at science given her programming background.
Will likely push the department to the right on economic policy (though even figures like Kwarteng tended to move to the left on things like business strategy) and be a big test for her, a chance to prove herself. Trade minister Nigel Huddleston
comes with Badenoch, Nusrat Ghani
(also in cabinet office) stays, Kevin Hollinrake
stays, Stuart Andrew
remains in culture department but comes across as equalities support. One change in supporting cast, health minister Maria Caulfield
rewarded as she now doubles up with business, not entirely sure what the NHS needs
Deducted point for I don't see Badenoch's vision of the future one that will be good for people but I recognize my ideology can't take up the score and Sunak has political reality to deal with 6
So the business reshuffle is a sensible one once Sunak decided to go down those routes, keeps three secretary of states in post and means only mini changes needed. To replace Zahawi and Donelan
moves from housing to head the Ministry of Fun/Culture department. This has led to cries of despair as 14th housing minister to leave the post since the Conservatives came back to power in 2010, and the fifth in the past 12 months. Frazer has long been a rising star who has never quite got the promotion, the barrister has done well in junior roles and been a trusted media presence. Not sure what her culture or sports connections are though, more a "have role, here is a talented figure, go have it."
becomes party chair, moving from trade. A close ally of Sunak, one who has said he has paid his taxes (when very quickly asked), long been a respected junior minister who does his job quietly and well, fluent in several languages and experienced figure who has served as whip and where treasury needed him. However having a Remainer party chair on a Brexiteer party might be... intresting and though known as a skilled local campaigner, he helped run Shaun Bailey's infamous mayoral camapign which may not inspire confidence. A safe figure in most posts but wonder if, with the very different role that party chair (media man, winning over local parties, election camapigns) is a good idea.
Sunak has sought to counter Hands weakness with a... bizarre pick. Lee Anderson
. On some levels, he fits the bill, he is from the Red Wall unlike the London based Hands (with Red Wall very concerned team Sunak is too south facing), not a technocrat, a miner, Brexiteer, has good relations with local parties so may be able to help Hands there. Also brings a critic into the tent, reassuring backbenches on immigration for example. He is also an idiot who will grab the headlines from this reshuffle due to tendency to pick fights and say not very nice things. Like the food-banks comment. One MP has said to Sam Coates
Lee Anderson is everything that is wrong with the Conservative Brand presently. He seems to rejoice in deliberately provoking and making aggressive simplistic statements that fail to represent the complexities of the issues facing this country. If this is the new Tory party, many will be forgiven for deserting it
In a generally sensible reshuffle (people will complain about Whitehall reshuffle and timing but if not now, when?), the chair and deputy is the one major issue, Anderson is a disaster waiting to happen and Hands may not be the best suited despite his general competence. 3
Overall, a reshuffle that has gone smoothly (Gove not moving from levelling up isn't going to weaken Sunak), choices that make enough sense even I'm not delighted and major change in terms of departments that could well benefit the country in the future. One major weakness though 7
I'll look at junior ranks tomorrow
-Love the Lord Hague line "If you became prime minister, with a majority behind you and a decent term in front of you, but were overthrown amid chaos, there is indeed someone to blame. It’s you"
-Yay that we seem to be getting somewhere on Northern Ireland protocol but the DUP/ERG problem remains with Sunak seeming reluctant to even pretend agreements have happened