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Steerpike

Tory big guns jostle for top jobs

Tory big guns jostle for top jobs
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With a Liz Truss victory now looking increasingly likely, Tory MPs are playing the oldest game of all: trying to bag the best possible jobs for themselves. In terms of endorsements, it's been one-way traffic in recent days with Ben Wallace, Tom Tugendhat, Brandon Lewis, Nadhim Zahawi, Penny Mordaunt and Sajid Javid all coming out for Truss in quick succession. While some of these aforementioned names no doubt support the Foreign Secretary's vision for Britain, Mr S can't help but note that such endorsements began just as a Truss victory appeared to become an inevitability...

The trouble for Truss is how to juggle all these new-found supporters with other loyalists and their demands for office too. In 1916, when Lloyd George offered Balfour the Foreign Secretaryship, Balfour exclaimed, 'You put a pistol to my head, I must accept!' Unfortunately there just never are enough pistols to go around. Long-standing Truss allies Kwasi Kwarteng, Therese Coffey and Simon Clarke have all been tipped for the Treasury for instance while James Cleverly, Tom Tugendhat and Ben Wallace are names doing the rounds for Foreign Secretary.

Evidence of the difficulties of this conundrum was shown last night when the Sun reported on the likely names for Truss's cabinet. Among others, the paper tipped Suella Braverman for Home Secretary, Priti Patel for party chair and Rishi Sunak for health. But it was the suggestion of Sir Iain Duncan Smith to run the Whips' Office that had Steerpike's phone blazing. A source close close to the former party leader got in touch to suggest that 'if he takes Chief Whip after the jobs he has had, I’ll glue my naked torso to the Chinese embassy gate.' They added that Duncan Smith even laughed at the prospect of him taking up the post. Other MPs pointed out that as a known rebel and, er, somewhat divisive figure within the party, such an appointment might not be the most popular.

Given the number of Tories who have been promised jobs in Truss's government, Mr S looks forward to seeing how the Foreign Secretary manages to keep everyone happy when it comes to divvying up the spoils of victory...