From Long Knives to Blunt Stilletos – the Cut and Thrust of the Cabinet Reshuffle

Date01 December 2021
Published date01 December 2021
As Cabinet minister Cliff Lawton
arrives for work in the first
episode of BBC comedy
Thick of It
we know he is in
trouble. ‘Lawton Dangles by a Thread’
shouts the headline in the
. The Prime
Minister’s enforcer, Malcolm Tucker is
waiting. Lawton doesn’t want to go but
soon ‘resignation’ from government is the
only option – although of course the press
already know he is on the way out.
Lawton’s removal was brutal. In other
From Long Knives to Blunt
Stilletos – the Cut and Thrust
of the Cabinet Reshuff‌le
Reshuff‌les are part and parcel of politics. But what prompts leaders
to change their top table? And do reshuff‌les really change anything?
Paula Keaveney investigates.
cases, ministers leave voluntarily, for health
or other reasons. But whatever the cause,
a Cabinet or government resignation
means a reshuffle. Gavin Barwell, in the
recently published
Chief of Staff
about his
time working for Theresa May, makes the
point that a single departure can lead to a
number of changes as a sideways move or
promotion creates another vacancy.
The word reshuffle is particularly
appropriate in the UK. While some states,
© Victoria Jones / Alamy Stock Photo
Political Insight December 2021 BU.indd 8Political Insight December 2021 BU.indd 8 18/11/2021 14:1918/11/2021 14:19

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