Peter Hoskin

Will Howard be the next Big Beast to return?

Will Howard be the next Big Beast to return?
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Andrew Grice sets the rumour mill a-whirling with this blog post suggesting that David Cameron might ennoble Michael Howard and draft him into the Cabinet, should the Tories win the next election.  It certainly sounds plausible enough.  After all, Howard has been a key figure in Cameron's career; he's had experience of government already; and has been making some impactful media appearances over the past few weeks.  On top of that, the largely successful* return of Ken Clarke has shown the worth of having some Big Beasts around.

The worry, though - particularly for current members of the Tory shadow cabinet - is that Cameron's set to go Big Beast crazy, and overlook the contributions that some of his younger recruits could make.  Indeed, Clarke's return seemed partially predicated on the Tory leader's lack of admiration for his current crop.  Which is a shame, as there are some effective Tory performers who just aren't utilised enough by the party leadership.  A key aspect of the Tories' preparation for government should be to ensure that the Bright Young Things of the shadow cabinet gain national recognition

I had my doubts over Clarke.  But - so far - there are few signs that Labour's efforts to play up splits between him and the party leadership will have any traction.