Mirror – surely Soubry is the one to take on UKIP, not pandering to flag raising little englandism. What happens to Shapps – my guess is that after briefing against Gideon on the Bingo ad he is out the door. One can imagine the briefing Bungalow Bob will give the new minister on the chaos left behind by four years of failed policy on housing and planning. Though in choosing the minister who fronted the bedroom tax even though she knew it was a disaster he has chosen the best bullshitter on the government benches.
Blunt Yorkshireman Eric Pickles is to be given the task of taking on UKIP for the Tories in next year’s General Election, reports the Sunday People.
David Cameron is set to make the Communities Secretary Tory Party Chairman in a Cabinet reshuffle.
Current chairman Grant Shapps will stay in Cabinet and is likely to become Commons leader in the shake-up expected later this month.
The PM believes 62-year-old Mr Pickles – MP for Essex seat Brentwood and Ongar – has the right heavyweight image to woo back UKIP voters to the Tories.
Mr Pickles was party chairman during the 2010 General Election campaign and was credited with getting Mr Cameron into Downing Street.
One Tory MP said: “David Cameron needs to motivate the troops on the ground and Eric is the man for that.”
And a senior Tory told the Sunday People: “Eric is exactly what the party needs. He’s a bluff man of the people who always gets straight to the point.”
Mr Cameron was holding off the reshuffle until after this week’s Newark by-election, where the Tories are defending a 16,152 majority.
Polls predict UKIP will be second after leader Nigel Farage opted out of contesting. But his party are tipped to dent Conservative support severely.
Following the Euro and local election disaster for Mr Cameron, the PM wants a new team in place and on top of their jobs by the autumn party conference.
And he is keen to move more women into prominent Cabinet roles, following criticism that he favours men.
So Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is expected to get the chop and be replaced by Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers.
Employment minister Esther McVey is being tipped as Mr Pickles’ replacement at Communities.
It will be seen as her reward for fronting the hated Bedroom Tax.
And there are likely to be promotions for defense minister Anna Soubry and education minister Elizabeth Truss.