Reshuffle: What the papers say

Cameron's reshuffle: What the papers say.
Cameron's reshuffle: What the papers say.
Ian Dunt By

The press splits pretty cleanly right and left when it gives its take on David Cameron's mid-term Cabinet reshuffle.

The Guardian

"In opposition and into his early days in power, the novel promise of Mr Cameron was to marry traditional Conservative economics with a liberal, progressive agenda on everything else – respect for civil liberties, regard for underrepresented groups, rehabilitation over vindictive punishment, a reshaped political system, environmental concern and an ethos of public service. Every one of these noble aims was, to some extent, retarded on Tuesday.

"The redeployment of Jeremy Hunt to health is the most breathtaking of all, since the disgraceful closeness of his office to the Murdochs through the BSkyB saga means he starts out dogged with suspicion when the pressing need in the NHS is to rebuild broken trust. It is a move which betrays contempt for the electorate, just after the booing of the chancellor from the benign crowd of Paralympic spectators signalled that goodwill is vanishing fast."

The Telegraph

"With only half the Cabinet at his disposal Mr Cameron made a reasonable fist of shaking up his team, bringing in some new faces and strengthening some key portfolios.

"A striking elevation is that of Chris Grayling to justice secretary, an appointment that should reassure party supporters of a robust line on penal policy and human rights. It is also right that his predecessor, Kenneth Clarke, should retain a government role, albeit without a department – his is an experienced and reassuring presence in a government where such qualities are in short supply.

"Overall, this is not a reshuffle that changes a great deal. It is the government’s policies that matter, and especially how it proposes to kick-start an ailing economy."

The Independent

"While the reshuffle reveals few specifics about government plans, it is an indication of which way David Cameron is leaning. There were two Tory ministers in the old cabinet line-up who were particular targets of hostility from the right wing of the Conservative party. One, Baroness Warsi, has been removed from the Cabinet and shifted into a tokenistic-sounding job at the Foreign Office. The other, Mr Clarke, no longer has a department to run, his place taken by the rapidly promoted Chris Grayling, a believer in keeping criminals in prison, who once had to apologise for remarking that owners of bed and breakfast hotels should have the right to discriminate against gay couples.

"David Cameron faced a difficult choice yesterday, with his government trailing in opinion polls, strains appearing in the forced marriage with the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative party fractious and divided. As he planned his reshuffle, he could have kept public opinion at the front of his mind, or the alliance with the Liberal Democrats, but he chose to ignore both to placate his right wing. This was an exercise in party management that will do little for Mr Cameron's standing in the country."

The Daily Mail

"Let the Mail say at once that, after two and a half years of dither and compromise, David Cameron's first exercise in ministerial musical chairs offers at least some hope that the Government may discover a sense of direction and purpose in the areas where policy has been allowed to drift.

"For limited though the reshuffle is, it is clearly calculated to please backbench and grass-roots Tories who have become exasperated by their party hierarchy’s pandering to the Lib Dems.

"Indeed, there’s a note of defiance about some of the changes, as if the Prime Minister’s patience with his Coalition partners has snapped and he’s challenging them to make trouble if they dare."


"The prime minister’s pruning of the ranks had two aims. The first was to reconnect with the parliamentary party following a good deal of backbench grousing about his leadership. The second was to close the gap between the reformist rhetoric and delivery, which has been excessively wide.

"Whether he has achieved either is open to doubt. True, Mr Cameron has in the name of party management thrown some bones to the backbenches. But this has led him to promote rightwingers of questionable ability, such as Owen Paterson and Chris Grayling, while demoting some able performers from the left, such as Ken Clarke. Whether this will be enough to achieve a rapprochement is anyway open to question. There is a sense that backbench dissatisfaction with Mr Cameron’s leadership runs deep."


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