No Prime Minister or party leader relishes the idea of shuffling her or his team of Ministers, especially when they are pushed to do it at a time not of their choosing. And so it was last week when Rishi Sunak was forced to sack his Home Secretary Suella Braverman after she described homelessness as “a lifestyle choice” and criticised the police provoking right wing extremists onto the streets of London. But also hitting the headlines was the return of former Prime Minister David Cameron as Foreign Secretary. This is not unprecedented but it does carry risks for the current Prime Minister not least because Cameron may be seen as the big beast in the room.
This is the first reshuffle in more than a decade which has left none of the four big Government posts being occupied by a woman. It also left a number of posts unfilled, some Ministers appearing to choose to leave and so start the clock ticking on the necessary six months pause which would otherwise prevent them from taking up employment when they lose their seats.
But there are bigger problems for the Government. The Kings Speech failed to land well and was widely regarded as failing to address the fundamental problems facing our country. So for a Prime Minister increasingly seen by the public as weak the reshuffle maybe a last throw of the dice. Meanwhile there may be some truth in the definition in the Cambridge Dictionary which describes a shuffle as giving “the appearance of activity when nothing useful is being done”