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Is Philip Hammond set to become the Tory John Reid?

April 28th, 2011

Is he the “safe pair of hands” to take on troubled portfolios?

In recent weeks the AV campaign has brought back to prominence John Reid – the man I thought should have taken over as Labour leader when Tony Blair was forced out in 2007.

He played a blinder with his double act last week with Cameron underlining why he was seen by many as the best Labour commuicator of his era. He famously dubbed Jeremy Paxman a “West London wanker,” after the Newsnight presenter introduced him as “an all-purpose attack dog”.

Just looking over Reid’s government positions you can see how useful he was to Blair taking over troubled portflios time and time again.

John Reid’s ministerial positions 1998-2007
Minister of Transport
Secretary of State for Scotland
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (After Mandelson’s second resignation)
Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party Chairman (Dubbed the “Minister for the Today Programme”)
Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council (Following Robin Cook’s resignation over Iraq)
Secretary of State for Health (Following Alan Milburn’s resignation)
Secretary of State for Defence (Replacing Geoff Hoon)
Home Secretary (After the sacking of Charles Clarke in the wake of the foreign prisoner release scandal)

After David Cameron less than fulsome endorsement of health secretary, Andrew Lansley, at PMQs yesterday there are suggestions by Michael Crick that a job swap with transport secretary, Philip Hammond, might be on the cards.

That seems quite smart. Hammond’s presentational skills and sharp political antenna are in marked contrast to Lansley’s approach and could help the blues get out of the current PR mess.

And once that is sorted Hammond would be available, in John Reid style, for the next problem portfolio.

Mike Smithson