Cameron's reshuffle: who's in, who's out?

Full details of the Prime Minister's first major reshuffle as they emerge.

After months of speculation, David Cameron's first major cabinet reshuffle began last night. Here's what we know so far.

15:36 Tory deputy chairman Michael Fallon, renowned as the party's attack-dog-in-chief, has been made minister of state for business. Tory MPs will hope he'll act as a powerful counterweight to Vince Cable.

15:00 Elsewhere on The Staggers, Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, has posted on why she'll miss having Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary. Clarke was making good on the promise of a "rehabilitation revolution", she says.

14:14 Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, who blogged yesterday on The Staggers on why the government should not support a third runway at Heathrow, has added his voice to those criticising the removal of Greening as Transport Secretary.

He commented on Twitter: "Greening’s appointment 11 months ago indicated the PM’s position on Heathrow was solid. Yielding so easily suggests panic, not principle."

13:42 Boris Johnson has criticised the removal of Justine Greening as Transport Secretary as confirmation that the government is intent on building a third runway at Heathrow, a policy that he described as "simply mad".

Courtesy of PoliticsHome, here's the full quote from his Sky News interview.

There can be only one reason to move her - and that is to expand Heathrow Airport. It is simply mad to build a new runway in the middle of west London. Nearly a third of the victims of aircraft noise in the whole of Europe live in the vicinity of Heathrow.

Now it is clear that the government wants to ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London. The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution - and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. We will fight this all the way.

13:11 With the remaining vacancies now filled, we've just published a full list of the new cabinet here.

12:28 It's worth noting that the five Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers (Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander, Vince Cable, Michael Moore and Ed Davey) have all remained in their current posts. However, as expected, David Laws, who became the cabinet's first casualty when he resigned as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in May 2010, has returned to government as an education minister. Simon Hughes is reported to have turned down a ministerial post in order to remain as the party's deputy leader.

12:20 We've just had another flurry of announcements as the reshuffle is finalised.

As expected, Grant Shapps has been named as the new Conservative chairman. He will attend cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.

Maria Miller, currently the minister for disabled people, has joined the cabinet as Culture Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

Justine Greening, who was removed as Transport Secretary, is the new International Development Secretary.

12:12 We've been in touch with New Statesman legal correspondent David Allen Green to get his take on Chris Grayling's promotion to Justice Secretary. Here's what he had to say.

Grayling is a disappointing choice as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor.  This is not because he is the first non-lawyer since Tudor times to hold the post of Lord Chancellor but because in a number of statements he shows no understanding of the principles of equality and fairness.  The criminal justice system is already in crisis.  The appointment of a mere sloganeer can only make things worse.

11:53 Following Sayeeda Warsi's removal as Conservative co-chairman, it's been announced that she will take up a new dual role as senior Foreign Office minister and minister for faith and communities. She will continue to attend cabinet.

11:40 As I've commented on Twitter, Cameron's decision to move Hunt to health is the biggest gamble of his reshuffle. The media will be after his scalp from the start and they'll be plenty of bad news stories from the NHS. But Hunt - personable, telegenic, socially liberal - is the archetypal Cameroon and the PM's decision to promote him is an assertion of his authority.

11:35 Owen Paterson, formerly Northern Ireland Secretary, has been named as the new Environment Secretary, while outgoing Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin replaces Justine Greening at Transport.

11:28 I've blogged on Chris Grayling's promotion to Justice Secretary here, pointing out why he was left out of Cameron's first cabinet: he defended the right of B&B owners to turn away gay couples.

11:04 In defiance of Jeremy Hunt's many critics, Cameron has just named him as the new Health Secretary.

10:45 Again via Twitter, Downing Street has just confirmed Chris Grayling as the new Justice Secretary.

10:31 The Downing Street Twitter feed has just named transport minister Theresa Villiers as the new Northern Ireland Secretary. The current incumbent, Owen Paterson, a favourite of the eurosceptic right, is in line for a promotion.

10:27 In the most significant move of the reshuffle so far, Andrew Lansley has been removed as Health Secretary and will become Leader of the House of Commons.

10:17 ConservativeHome are reporting that Chris Grayling, currently welfare minister, is set to be named as the new Justice Secretary.

09:29 Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith will remain in their respective posts as Education Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary. Duncan Smith was reportedly offered Justice but, unsurprisingly, declined. He has previously said that Work and Pensions is the only job he wants to do in government and his defining policy, the Universal Credit, won't be implemented until 2013.

Similarly, it would have been odd to move Gove, also hailed by the right as crusading reformer, before his education reforms are complete.

Gove and Duncan Smith join George Osborne, William Hague, Theresa May and Vince Cable as those certain to remain in their current jobs.

08:35 Michael Fallon, the current Tory deputy chairman, has been seen walking into No 10. Along with Grant Shapps, he has long been cited as a possible replacement for Warsi as chairman. When asked if he had been awarded her job, he smiled, according to the BBC's Norman Smith.

07:18 Cheryl Gillan has left her post as Welsh Secretary after Conservative MPs called for someone representing a Welsh constituency to do the job (the Tories currently hold eight Welsh seats). In what has been dubbed the first "Twitter reshuffle", Gillan signalled her departure by removing the words "Secretary of State for Wales" from her bio on the site.

Andrew Mitchell has been named as the new Chief Whip after leaving his post as International Development Secretary. He replaces Patrick McLoughlin, who is tipped to become Transport Secretary. David Cameron said: "As chief whip, Andrew will ensure strong support for our radical legislative programme, by working hard to win the argument in the Commons as well as playing a big role in the No 10 team. He will be invaluable as the Government embarks on the next, vital phase of its mission to restore our economy to growth and reform our public services."

Despite a late appeal for Cameron to save her job, Sayeeda Warsi has been removed as Conservative co-chairman. She confirmed her departure via Twitter late last night and is expected to be replaced by housing minister Grant Shapps.

Ken Clarke, the man known as the "sixth Liberal Democrat cabinet minister", has been removed as Justice Secretary but is expected to remain in the Cabinet, most likely as minister without portfolio.

Caroline Spelman has been removed as Environment Secretary and will leave the cabinet.

David Cameron will announce full details of his cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday afternoon. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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What does it mean for Ukip if it loses in Stoke-on-Trent Central?

The party’s prospects are in question if it fails to win over the “Brexit capital” in Thursday's by-election.

“The Only Way Is Up!” blasted through a hall in Stoke-on-Trent Central on a damp Monday evening earlier this month. It was the end of a public Ukip meeting, in which Nigel Farage and his successor and by-election candidate Paul Nuttall made their rallying cries to an audience of around 650 supporters.

But even then, a fortnight ago, the note of triumph in the dance classic was tinged with uncertainty. “We’ve won the war, but we’ve yet to win the peace,” Farage admitted to the sympathetic crowd. And while this message is supposed to make Ukip’s fight relevant even in the context of Brexit-bound Britain, it betrays the party’s problem: the battle that was its raison d'être is over.

Failing fortunes

Since then, the party has had more to contend with. Its candidate in the Labour seat has been caught lying about having “close personal friends” killed at the Hillsborough disaster. This comes on top of a number of other false claims, and an investigation into whether he falsely registered his home address as being in the constituency.

After these scandals – and a campaign seemingly unable to turn out apathetic voters (which I covered a couple of weeks ago) – Ukip’s chances in the West Midlands seat look worse than expected.

Initially the main challenger to Labour, Ukip is now being predicted for third or even fourth place in the seat, behind a Tory party that essentially stood aside to give Nuttall room, and to focus on a concurrent by-election campaign in Copeland.

It’s in Labour’s interest for the campaign to continue looking like a close Labour-Ukip fight, in order to keep hold of tactical voters. But both the Conservative and Lib Dem campaigns are feeling more buoyant.

“We are relatively confident that Ukip are not going to win, and that is quite a change,” the Lib Dem campaign coordinator Ed Fordham told me. “That has actually relieved lots of voters of the emotional risk of letting in what they perceive to be an unpleasant, far-right option . . . and voting for who they would like to represent them.”

One local activist chirped: “It will hopefully be a terrible result for Ukip.”

So what will it mean for Ukip if it loses?

Great expectations

Ukip has a lot riding on this seat. Farage called the by-election “absolutely fundamental” to Ukip’s future. Its new leader, Nuttall, took the risk of running as the party’s candidate there – riding his reputation on the by-election.

This created a lot of hype about Ukip’s chances, which the party has privately been trying to play down ever since. Even before the scandal surrounding Nuttall, he was emphasising that the seat had only been Ukip’s 72nd target, and told me he had taken a gamble by running for it. “The way it’s being written up as if this is the one – it wasn’t,” he insisted.

But Stoke-on-Trent, where 69 per cent voted Leave, has been labelled the “Brexit capital”. According to political scientist Rob Ford, the author of Revolt on the Right who has been studying Labour’s most Ukip-vulnerable seats: “It should be a pretty favourable seat for them, pretty favourable demographics, pretty favourable [negative] attitudes about the EU, very high Brexit vote there and so on.”

In other words, if Ukip can’t win here, against a weak Labour party, where can it win?

Struggle for seats

Brexit is central to Ukip’s by-election campaign. The party has highlighted Labour’s splits over Europe, pointed out the Labour candidate Gareth Snell’s Remainer credentials, and warned that the government needs to be held to account when negotiating Britain’s exit.

But Ford believes this rhetoric is unlikely to work, since the Tories are already pursuing a “hard” Brexit focused on immigration control. “A difficulty for Paul Nuttall and Ukip is that people are going to say: why would we vote for you when we’re getting what we want from the government? What’s the point right now?” he said. “I can have all the Brexity stuff, all the immigration control stuff, but with none of the incompetence and serial lying about Hillsborough – I think I’ll take that!”

So if rerunning the EU referendum doesn’t work, even in such a Brexit-heavy seat, this means trouble for Ukip elsewhere in the country. A Ukip councillor in a top Ukip target seat with similar demographics to Stoke believes it’s “crisis time” for the party.

“It is very sad to say, but Ukip has lost its way,” they told me. “It’s still a strong party, but after losing Nigel, it’s lost a little of its oomph. The new gentleman [Nuttall] has been silly with the comments he’s made. That’s a big worry in some regards. You need to be a people person. It’s a serious situation at the minute.”

If Ukip can’t prove it can win parliamentary seats – even in favourable by-elections – then it will be difficult to prove its authority as a political party come the general election.

Leadership lament

Should Nuttall lose, Ukip’s leadership will come into question. Again. During a tumultuous time late last year, when the favourite Steven Woolfe left the party after a physical altercation, and Diane James quit the leadership after 18 days, commentators asked if Ukip was anything without Farage.

When Nuttall eventually took over, the same voices warned of his threat to Labour – citing his northern and working-class roots. It’s likely this narrative will change, and Farage’s golden touch pondered again, if Nuttall fails to win.

But rather than panic about its national leader, Ukip must look carefully at those who commit to the party in local campaigns. On the ground in Stoke, running Nuttall as a candidate instead of a local Ukipper is seen as a mistake.

“I don’t know why they did that,” one local activist for an opposing party commented. “If they’d run Mick Harold, they would’ve won. He’s a Stokie.”

Harold, the deputy chair of Staffordshire County Committee, and chair of Ukip’s Stoke-on-Trent Central/North branch, won 22.7 per cent of the vote for Ukip in the constituency in 2015. He insists that he stands by his decision to step aside for Nuttall, but does highlight that Ukip should increase its vote share.

“If we’re increasing our percentage share of the vote, we’re still moving forward and that’s how we’ve got to look at it,” he told me. “I got 22.7 per cent in 2015. I would think this time we’re going to certainly get somewhere around the 30 per cent mark.”

Would it have been more likely to achieve this with Harold as candidate? “Whatever happens, happens, we’ve just got to move forward,” he replied. “If you’ve made a mistake, you move on from it.”

I have heard similar misgivings from local activists in other parts of the country – people who have achieved impressive results in local elections and the general election, but haven’t had much thanks from the national party. “We need to get professionalised now,” one such campaigner said. “Because we’ve got grassroots people who are not career politicians [doing all the hard work].” They say their local party is fed up with leadership being dictated by “personal grudges” at the top of the party.

***

As I’ve written before, I don’t think this is the end of Ukip. Once Brexit starts to bite, and it’s clear immigrants are still needed to fill jobs, there will be resentment enough to make space for them again. But losing Stoke will highlight the challenges – of purpose, leadership and local organisation – that the party will need to overcome for its next stand.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.