by GK Strategy 12th January, 2018
3 min read

GK’s response to the reshuffle – what has actually changed?

There has been a lot of noise around politics this week, but as the coverage of the reshuffle fades we are left wondering: what has actually changed?

So, here is what is different at the end of the week than the beginning:

  • We have a weaker Prime Minister. One of the key objectives of the reshuffle was for Theresa May to reassert her authority, with a reshuffle that was heavily trailed in the press as making significant changes to the Cabinet. The reality was that her Cabinet pushed back, further undermining her authority, with the resulting reshuffle seeing few significant changes. There was some valiant spin on day two, but this week the Prime Minister has reinforced the fact that she may still be the Prime Minister in name but that she is not fully in command.
  • May has fewer friends on the backbenches. Sacking people and then relying on their support is never going to be easy, but when you don’t have a majority, the reshuffle will have further weakened her ability to secure the support needs on key votes in parliament.
  • Housing is a priority. Housing has been added to the title of the Department of Communities and Local Government,  and the new Housing Minister, Dominic Raab – a much touted rising star – will take the opportunity to prove himself in a high profile and difficult brief.
  • Health and social care are official bedfellows. We have a new Department and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; the first time the Department has had a new title in 30 years and a clear and long overdue recognition that health and social care are interdependent. The department has also gained an extra Minister. Will the refresh and extra people power translate into more money for the system?
  • The Conservative party machine looks set for a makeover. With a huge number of new appointments to CCHQ from rising stars within the Conservative party, there is a clear signal that there is a focus on transforming and re-energising the party. Expect a further shake-up of staff at HQ.
  • Reform of tuition fees is now back on the table. With Justine Greening and Jo Johnson leaving the Department for Education, a block has been removed on the PM’s ambitions to discuss the future of higher education funding. Expect to see the new Secretary of State for Education deliver a renewed discussion about tuition fee reform.
  • Jo Johnson has shown his hand. As the new Minister for London, expect to see him position himself for a run at the Conservative mayoral candidacy.
  • Theresa and Gove are eco-friendly. Gove’s 25 year environment plan gave May something to cheer about this week, and the importance of being seen as ‘eco-friendly’ was reinforced with the decision for Claire Perry, the Minister for Clean Energy, to now attend cabinet. The environment will feature strongly in  May’s plans to create a softer narrative about the Government.
  • The Opposition has been re-energised. A bad week for May only serves only to spur the opposition on. They will be looking for the next opportunity to deliver a serious blow to May.
  • Ruth Davidson continues to show her independence. She vocally tweeted about her disappointment in Theresa May’s decision to let Justine Greening leave government, again showing that she is willing to challenge Theresa May and further prompting suspicion about her next move.
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