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Reshuffle ahead?

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Nick Robinson | 21:53 UK time, Thursday, 4 May 2006

It certainly is going to be a busy 36 hours!

Ministers have been put on standby for a government reshuffle tomorrow morning. The way this works is that their offices are called and they are instructed not to leave London and asked where the minister will be at a certain time.

There is no official confirmation of this but Tony Blair may feel that restructuring his ministerial team will distract from what Labour themselves predict will be a bad night for the party. How bad we will find out soon. How big the reshuffle will be too. My hunch - and it is only that - is that Prescott will keep his job but in return will shoulder much of the blame for a bad night. He's on Andy Marr's programme on Sunday morning for his first interview since l'affaire. I think Charles Clarke will stay too otherwise the PM will be eating his own words. There could still though be widespread changes.

Not long to wait to find out.


  • 1.
  • At 10:15 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • Neil Small wrote:

What will be critical for Charles Clarke will be the BNP vote. If they make substantial gains, then he will almost certainly be forced out. But Mr Blair will survive as usual, unless Labour suffer dramatic losses. In that case, a Parliamentary vote of confidence is on the cards. It was a tactic that Labour used in opposition.

  • 2.
  • At 10:17 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • iain stevenson wrote:

Nick,do you seriously think Prescott and Clarke can survive in their posts after the events of the last 10 days?If Blair did that everyone would immediately question Blairs judgement and would call for his resignation.I would be absolutely amazed if Presocott and Clarke both survive.It would just confirm everyones worst fears about Blair being arrogant and out of touch.Surely Blair could not be that stupid.How can Blair be sure that a new revelation will not emerge the day after the reshuffle to further undermine Clarkes position?.I just cant see how Blair could take that risk.

  • 3.
  • At 10:26 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • Paul Herwin wrote:

You are holding a rope on a baloon as it leaves the ground - do you let go and risk hurting yourself or hold on tight and hope you land safely - I think Labour is now all about the latter.

  • 4.
  • At 10:35 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • mark wrote:

Are you still allowed to call Mr Marr Andy? I thought he only answered to Andrew these days?

I agree with that analysis. I think that any significant gain for them would be the death-knell for Charles Clarke. A loss of 300 would be catastrophic for the government.

Hhhm. I can't see Clarke surviving now...

  • 7.
  • At 11:08 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • Nicola Jewell wrote:

I think Charles Clarke will stay too. The headlines are getting forced, and more and more stupid. How can the latest story - the foreign national (NOT foreigner as the newsreader at 11pm just said - political correctness is here for a reason, and that's one example of why)not deported after doing time for a robbery and who was released in 1998, now a suspect in a terrorism trial - how can that possibly hurt Clarke? It happened before his watch! And we don't know whether he was considered for deportation or not, because the records for this begin in 1999. So the Tories weren't keeping records then? It makes me want to burst my head. There must be some previous agenda behind all this, maybe just the desire for a scalp on the part of the press, maybe just the desire to give Blair a good kicking. A perfectly reasonable sentiment, but surely the press doesn't need to exaggerate headlines to do that?

  • 8.
  • At 11:11 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • Reuben wrote:

All ministers in London? but have not been able to attend the wednesday session? now that is an interesting one.

  • 9.
  • At 11:35 PM on 04 May 2006,
  • Justin wrote:

I think Charles Clarke will stay, I don't think the whole mess is his fault anyway, it's been happening for a long time even under the conservative government. You can't just blame him, perhaps you can blame Jack Straw or even David Blunket. If Clarke and Prescott go, I don't know who can replace them. Perhaps Tony Blair should go and let Brown to take over, then they can refresh themselves and get a new start. The whole government is a no hope now. They need to rebuild the whole team.

  • 10.
  • At 04:35 PM on 05 May 2006,
  • John F wrote:

Is it any wonder people are alienated from their Council? As an officer in one key NW council, and a resident of another, I watched your coverage with keen interest. Unfortunately the editorial decision to treat the elections as a rehearsal for a General Election, or simply a large opinion poll, did local democracy no favours. Results from key battlegrounds such as Manchester flashed lazily across the screen, as the panel endlessly considered Westminister. Worse still, (and Nick was as guilty as the next person) the phrase 'local issues were very important here' seemed to imply some form of eccentricity on the part of voters.
I have just heard the Tory LG Shadow react to the loss of Harrogate on R5, claiming that 'just down the road'in Bassetlaw they had done rather well. If they think that Bassetlaw is just down the road from Harrogate, it is little surprise that not many outside the SE take them seriously.

  • 11.
  • At 09:16 PM on 06 May 2006,
  • Chuck Unsworth wrote:

This continual blaming of the media for reporting national issues rather than local issues at the time of local elections is sheer hokum. It simply will not do. Currently, Labour politicians at all levels are demonstrating an almost pathological distrust of all of the media. That is simply to ignore what the majority of the public are saying. They are in denial.

Does your correspondent John F seriously believe that his party's disastrous showing at the polls was entirely due to some sort of orchestrated campaign by the media? If he does, then he's going to be even more distraught at the time of the next General Election. And for that matter does he actually believe that the two are somehow not associated with each other? If he does, then he's also out of touch with political reality.

That's the trouble with New Labour, they seem to have completely lost the plot and, maybe worse, lost contact with the electorate. High time there was less pontification and more listening, proper understanding and action - not the usual ineffective knee-jerk responses which have been the hallmark of this Government since its inception.

Get a grip and face up to reality!

  • 12.
  • At 03:14 PM on 01 Jul 2007,
  • phil thomas wrote:

Did you see Andrew Marr interviewing our new PM this morning? Marr did not challenge Brown once - there was only nodded agreement. I was amazed that Marr did not pick-up on Brown's "inclusive of all political backgrounds - we are interested in talent etc and not party politics but what is good for the country etc". Was Marr the only person listening who missed the significance of this? Brown is attempting to neutralise opposition. This is not the sign of an independent broadcaster but one who is careful not to upset the left.

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