A few months ago, I went up to see IDS in his room in Westminster. He had so many books on his bookshelves that he had started stacking them vertically on the floor. He was enthused by some early years intervention programme in Virginia - I was less convinced, so he was not content until he'd found the study to prove to me that the intervention had been a success. He had a kind of messianic zeal, hopping around the room looking for the paper as if he wanted to convert me. When I eventually escaped (he has a habit of saying things like "before you go - three more things") I thought that he was needed on the frontbench. Here is a politician who genuinely believes he can make a difference, couldn't care less about his public persona or spin, and actually knew his brief. Who would you rather have running welfare reform, the most complex subject in Whitehall? IDS, or Theresa May?
From that point, it was a no brainer - I wanted IDS to go back to the front bench. "Cameron won't want that slap-head ruining the school photo of his first cabinet" said one Shadow Minister to me, when we discussed IDS's return, as if it were all about the cosmetics. I think that Cameron - having erred in moving Chris Grayling from a job that he loved - realises that welfare reform will be the single toughest reform he'll have to do in government and needs a man with IDS' energy and attention to detail. So I hope the Sunday Telegraph story turns out to be true.