Well while I’ve been drinking and sleeping in Blackpool, Helen has just sacked three Ministers – Paul Swain, Marian Hobbs and George Hawkins.
If anyone believes this step down voluntarily crap, I have a bridge for them to buy. Whale Oil is also cynical.
In theory the Cabinet is elected by the Labour Caucus but in reality the PM puts up a slate of candidates she wants, and they have always been endorsed. The slate is decided after consultation with key people and factions.
So let’s be clear. They are not making themselves available because the PM told them they would not be on her list of nominees. Or H2 told them.
I can also tell you from my experience no Minister *ever* wants to return to the backbenches unless they have serious familiy issues such as sick spouse or kids.
The fact that Marian mentioned several times that one of the reasons people should vote for her, is because she will be in Cabinet and can deliver, suggest that the sacking was forced not voluntary.
Anyway will be interesting to see who gets promoted. Certainly this gives Clark a lot more flexibility, so is quite smart from her point of view.
This leaves 15 Ministers inside Cabinet and seven outside, including Field who will go. O’Connor and Cunliffe have to be the two most likely to get promoted to inside Cabinet.
UPDATE: Gman took notes from the meetings where Marian said you should vote for her because she will be in Cabinet.
I shoudl note that I regarded Swain as one of the better Labour Ministers (he did recommend local loop unbundling) and Marian had become okay also, after a rough start. I’m somewhat surprised they were both pushed out.