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Coffeehouse Politics in Westminster

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Following a long summer break, we now have a new cabinet. But for how long? Cameron's reshuffle earlier this month proved that no one is safe in the world of politics. Forget about loyalty and dedication, a cabinet position comes with no rules. It's no surprise to hear that within the political parties, backbenchers whisper and circulate ideas which may not be to the benefit of their party leader, and it has now been suggested that within both the Conservative and Lib Dem camps, a challenge to David Cameron or Nick Clegg is not unlikely.

Although Philip Hammond or Liam Fox may appear to hold the qualities of a potential party leader, Boris Johnson is not out of the question. Since stealing the spotlight at London's Olympic Games, he is man of the moment. Indeed, it emerged recently that he was in talks to bag a seat as an MP. Why? Because that would make him a step closer to the top job. Another recent headline revealed that Ed Miliband and Vince Cable exchanged messages between each other, perhaps in preparation for a Lib-Lab coalition in 2015. Does this suggest that Cable would be prepared to contend for leadership of the Lib Dems? Why not?

Of course, in front of the cameras politicians will generally flock to support their leader. Boris retains his admiration and respect for David Cameron, and Vince Cable has stressed his commitment to the current coalition contract. That doesn't mean, however, that gossip is absent from the Commons. There is a reason why political journalists loiter around Westminster to wait for a scoop that will reveal yet another threat to party politics. Once a source is confirmed, it's headline news. There are no secrets in government. Indeed, when I was recently invited up to the House of Commons, I got the chance to hear some of the whispers in circulation first hand. However, above the secrets, I am told, you have to be very careful what you wish to tweet or write about.

Opinions are important, of course, but whilst sitting in Portcullis House (the coffee-stop for politicians and journalists), I found that it all revolves around waiting to catch a glimpse of that one MP or senior official who can officially confirm the rumour you may have heard. Sadly, there didn't appear to be much gossip during my visit as Portcullis House was unusually quiet, but then maybe everyone showed up once I had left. Perhaps the latest bubbling story went to the next aspiring journalist behind me who was willing to wait just a little longer. Given the current political climate and the noticeable reshuffle grievances, it wouldn't be a surprise if an exciting scoop breaks soon. And when it does, you can bet that there will already be a queue of reporters lined up ready and waiting to be the first to release it.