Michael Gove goes from Education Secretary to Chief Whip. Photo: Getty
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Michael Gove becomes Chief Whip; Nicky Morgan takes over as Education Secretary

The former Education Secretary Michael Gove is now Chief Whip, replacing Sir George Young. Women's minister Nicky Morgan has replaced Gove - although she will also keep her equalities role.

In more harrowing news for the PM's middle-aged white men, Education Secretary and neocon darling of the Tory right Michael Gove has been demoted from his post to Chief Whip, with an "enhanced role in campaigning and doing broadcast media interviews", according to the PM's Twitter feed.

This is another surprise move in Cameron's shake-up of his government this week, perhaps only eclipsed by the news that William Hague has resigned from the cabinet as Foreign Secretary and will be standing down next year.

Gove will be replaced by Treasury minister Nicky Morgan, who has quietly and confidently been earning her stripes and has been increasingly praised as a somewhat hidden Tory talent by pundits. Morgan will retain her role as minister for Women and Equalities. This appointment goes with the general predictions, which have been rumbling away for weeks, that the PM's final reshuffle of this parliament was going to be one for promoting women to the top tiers of his regime.

Gove's appointment is a strange one. He is known for having the gift of the gab, and even for those who loathe him (of whom there are many), he is an arresting figure during interviews and at the despatch box. The role of Chief Whip usually means you stay silent, out of the limelight, and can't take too many media appearances. Perhaps then it makes sense that Cameron seems to have tweaked the role especially for Gove by requiring a more outward role in campaigning and broadcast interviews. The two roles - operating behind the scenes and being a public face of the party - don't sit comfortably though, and it suggests the PM was hard-pressed to find an alternative position for his former education secretary.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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