The Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps looks likely to stay on at the reshuffle after his plans for grassroots campaigning finally came good. Shapps had looked vulnerable because his Team2015 grassroots campaign had struggled to make an impact on the ground, but in recent weeks a new initiative to flood young activists into marginal seats has secured his position.
Mr Shapps had been the victim of a whispering campaign from supporters of Michael Fallon MP, who is understood to want the job. Fallon’s supporters had pointed out that whilst Team2015 had made significant inroads into telephone canvassing it had failed to put activists on the streets in any significant numbers.
However critics were placated when the RoadTrip2015 initiative, which Shapps has backed, took 300 young people to the Newark by-election. It now looks likely to run a series of campaigns across marginal constituencies this summer, which could see tens of thousands of marginal voters canvassed with potentially hundreds of thousands of leaflets delivered.
Labour has made some efforts to replicate the RoadTrip2015 strategy with their own “3 Seats Challenge” but it is far smaller than the Conservative offering. Strategists in the Labour Party are understood to be nervous about the new strategy, but are struggling to formulate a response.
The pre-reshuffle rumour mill had been awash with suggestions that the Prime Minister might dump his party chairman, but insiders say Shapps is now impossible to remove because his departure would put at risk what one insider referred to as “game changing ground campaign”.
The reshuffle is expected early next week and whilst there are likely to be very few changes at the top a large number of changes are expected at junior ministerial level. Cabinet Ministers Andrew Lansley and Ken Clarke are expected to leave government, with Ester McVey and Nicky Morgan being promoted.
Greg Hands is expected to be moved from Deputy Chief Whip to Chief Whip having been perceived to have done well in the whips office.