PracticePeople In PracticeView from the house

View from the house

It may be too soon to talk about election fever but along the corridors there is that unmistakable whiff of impending political change.

Tony will still be in charge of course after the election. But who is going to be joining him around the Cabinet table or applauding him when the Parliamentary Labour Party first meets? Campaigning has already begun for the May council and London mayor elections and will move into higher gear later in the summer.

The promotion stakes are already crowded. If Tony Blair feels the heartlands factor is a lot less than it is cracked up to be, what price John Prescott’s survival at the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, a prime candidate for chopping up. Prescott may prove a useful counterweight to Gordon Brown, but in a more symbolic job.

Other potential victims of a reshuffle include Clare Short and the two women, Ann Taylor as chief whip and Margaret Beckett as leader of the Commons who have proved so oddly resistant to reform. But they would have to be replaced by other women.

It is when you peer into the nether ranks of the Labour government that it becomes difficult to predict who might move up. I recently compiled a list of ministers of state (the grade just below Cabinet rank) and was surprised at just how obscure many of them remain. Tony may have been told by Sir Richard Wilson, the cabinet secretary, that they are doing reasonable jobs as ministers but many fail the Today programme test – they are never on it, let alone put up a fight when grilled by John Humphreys.

Try Stephen Timms, John Hutton, John Denham, Joyce Quin, John Battle, Adam Ingram, Richard Caborne, even the fragrantly named Dawn Primarolo. Yet it is from their ranks that Blair will have to look to replenish his inner circle. Hot tips include Patricia Hewitt, Peter Hain and (not for the first time) Tessa Jowell. Labour has some talent in the House of Lords but after the fiasco over its reform Blair would find it well-nigh impossible to promote any of its members to the cabinet.

David Walker writes for the Guardian

Related Articles

Is inefficiency stealing your time and money?

Accounting Firms Is inefficiency stealing your time and money?

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
CIMA elects new president

Institutes CIMA elects new president

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Transparent currency trade: How to achieve costs visibility

Governance Transparent currency trade: How to achieve costs visibility

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Introduction to KPMG UK’s new leadership team

Accounting Firms Introduction to KPMG UK’s new leadership team

6m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
EY appoints head of UK Infrastructure Asset Intelligence practice

Accounting Firms EY appoints head of UK Infrastructure Asset Intelligence practice

8m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
FRP Advisory expands operation with new office, partner appointments

Accounting Firms FRP Advisory expands operation with new office, partner appointments

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Magma Group announces merger, partner promotions

Accounting Firms Magma Group announces merger, partner promotions

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
MHA MacIntyre Hudson advises on management buy-out

Accounting Firms MHA MacIntyre Hudson advises on management buy-out

10m Emma Smith, Managing Editor