Downing Street has just blasted out the full list of Cabinet ministers and those ministers entitled to attend Cabinet. The biggest casualty from the old shadow Cabinet is Chris Grayling who goes from being shadow Home Secretary to a minister of state at DWP. Grayling’s demotion has been much predicted in recent weeks. Tellingly, Grayling was the only shadow Cabinet member to argue against offering the Lib Dems a referendum on AV at the shadow Cabinet meeting on Monday. However, I expect he’ll make a good fist of the welfare brief—it is territory he knows well having shadowed DWP in opposition.
The next most noticeable Tory absentees are Greg Clark, Nick Herbert and Theresa Villiers. These three, all members of the 2005 intake, are some of the brightest people on the Conservative benches. All of them had bold plans for the departments they were shadowing and all can count themselves unlucky, if the Tories had won 20 more seats they’d all be sitting around the Cabinet table. I would expect them to make a success of whatever job they are offered and be in line for promotion soon enough.
Mark Francois, Grant Shapps and Pauline Neville-Jones all miss out on being allowed to attend Cabinet, but that was widely expected. One other thing of note is that contrary to speculation, universities remain part of BIS—Vince Cable’s department—rather than returning to education.
The junior ministerial ranks will be fascinating. It’ll be very interesting to see if there are Lib Dems in every team and which Tories miss out to make space for some Lib Dems. We’re also waiting to hear how political Cabinets will work in a coalition government.