One of the last duties Sir George Young undertook as Chief Whip before stepping down during the reshuffle was to call ministers who were in line for the chop to check that they were not planning on taking the news too badly.
Mr S suspects that Sir George’s heart was not really in it. One deposed Cabinet minister recalls their brief call with the Chief Whip:
‘Hello, I understand you’re off to see the Prime Minister and I’m meant to be doing a little pastoral care, but as I’m getting fired too, I suppose this is just a goodbye from one sacked minister to another. Cheerio.‘