Why Grant Shapps becoming Defence Secretary makes Rishi Sunak's job easier

Ben Wallace formerly stood down on Thursday.

Grant Shapps is the new Defence Secretary in a move that will make Rishi Sunak’s job easier.

An accomplished minister, the move represents the fifth cabinet role Mr Shapps has taken in the past year alone, which speaks to the chaos running through the Conservative party.There is no consistency in positions, no coherence in the great offices of state because the party has forced out its own leaders or its ministers have forced out themselves. Dominic Raab left because of bullying, Gavin Williamson for the same, while Nadhim Zahawi faced questions over his taxes.

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But Mr Shapps seems to always survive, with successive Prime Ministers perhaps not valuing him in one role particularly, but deciding they have to keep him.

Boris Johnson rated him for keeping a spreadsheet of supportive MPs, Liz Truss saw him as an organiser but for Mr Sunak, it is his reliability and loyalty that gives him value.

Mr Shapps knows about spin, and how to sell what the Government is offering. He does not go off message, even if he is the exception to the rule about ministers not using TikTok.

The same cannot be said for Ben Wallace, who was constantly butting heads with Downing Street over spending. Polls showed Mr Wallace was the most popular member of the cabinet, so his outbursts on a lack of funding carried weight, something only amplified by his military experience.

With Mr Shapps, Downing Street hopes to cool tensions, employing who the Liberal Democrats, and even some of his own colleagues, are mocking as a “yes man”.

It did not go unnoticed among Tory MPs that in finding a replacement, Mr Sunak went for someone already in the cabinet who he’d have to move, rather than promote another MP.

We are approaching an election, and with that perhaps the final year of a Tory cabinet. The Prime Minister cannot afford colleagues putting their brief ahead of the party, and with Mr Shapps, there will be no difficult questions.



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