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Pickles and 'thicko' Iain Duncan Smith to make way for the girls?

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing

Pickles and 'thicko' Iain Duncan Smith to make way for the girls? Pickles and 'thicko' Iain Duncan Smith to make way for the girls?

24dash reporter Max Salsbury examines the reshuffle rumours.

Forget Isis, Gaza or Ukraine - the really big news is brewing right here in Britain: Yes, it's time for another of David Cameron's gripping cabinet reshuffles.

Actually, this time round things genuinely are potentially more interesting than watching bricks sleep, as two heavyweights sally precariously close to the chasm of political oblivion.

Heavyweight 1 takes the shape of the current communities secretary, Eric Pickles (if you can call it a shape).

Pickles is a down to earth northern type who has appeared on such hits as 'Dessert (sic) Island Discs' but who has managed to piss off the Tory grassroots (the horror) with his laissez-faire approach to planning.

Rumours suggest that Pickles might be made chief whip, which sounds altogether too energetic for him.

But the really big news concerns heavyweight 2 - Iain Duncan Smith.

Word on the street is that George Osborne and IDS don't get on very well, with the chancellor actually believing that the work and pensions secretary is a bit thick.

According to Tory suck-up Matthew d’Ancona (who once seriously asked, is Jesse Norman MP too clever for Westminster? Um, no) Osborne once confided in underlings that “You see Iain giving presentations and realise he’s just not clever enough".

So, what's to happen to Iain 'Thicko' Smith? Not much, if he has his way. According to that bastion of journalistic accuracy (with apologies to Mr Clooney of Hollywood) the Daily Mail, ‘Thicko’ has told David Cameron that he's "not going anywhere".

‘Thicko’ once led the Tory Party into one of a string of trouncings by a young and rampant Tony Blair. Since then, he has redesigned himself as a champion of the poor by taking all their money and spare bedrooms away, as you do.

So, should Cameron manage to prise ‘Thicko’ out of the DWP with a crowbar, and Pickles from the DCLG with several crowbars, who will replace them?

Hotly-tipped for the DWP position is Esther McVey, who has apparently delighted Tories with a string of electrifying TV appearances - which really goes to show how very easily impressed some people are.

McVey used to deliver vapid drivel to an increasingly dwindling and stultified audience on GMTV, and now does the same thing for the Conservative Party.

Rumoured to be joining her in the cabinet is the current schools minister, Elizabeth Truss; death penalty enthusiast Priti Patel; and failed swimming celebrity Penny Mordaunt.

Only three of the 22 full cabinet positions in Cameron's regime are currently held by women.

In other shuffle news, Nick Boles, the smooth-talking planning minister who has also sent the infamous Tory grassroots into many a frenzy, is expected to move to the education department.

And what of our beloved housing minister, who has been in the role for almost an entire year? Well, Kris Hopkins has been assiduously appearing in a flurry of high-vis-clad grin 'n’ snap events across the country, so one suspects that something is up.

Apparently, Hopkins position has become untenable in the eyes of the Tory elite in the wake of some recent Labour savagings.

So, probably best to put someone else in the role to blurt out the same platitudes and stats while standing powerless in the face of the housing crisis. That's what housing ministers do!

Finally, and perhaps most remarkably of all, the disgraced former defence minister Liam Fox has been rumoured to return.

Fox seemed to mangle his career beyond repair after his strange relationship with lobbyist Adam Werrity was made public - a peculiar affair that still baffles.

But, then, if the abysmal Peter Mandelson can return repeatedly from the political grave, anything is (sadly) possible.

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