Grant Shapps has been moved from the post of Tory party chairman to the position of international development minister, David Cameron has announced.
He will be replaced as chairman by Lord Feldman who will attend the prime minister’s political cabinet.
As chairman, Mr Shapps was responsible for running the party machine and overseeing Conservative Central Office, so given the Tories’ success in the election, the move may come as a surprise to some.
But only a few days ago, it was reported that senior Tories had been urging the prime minister to sack Mr Shapps, who became mired in controversy after he was accused of anonymously editing his own entry and those of other Tory politicians on internet encyclopedia Wikipedia.
At the time, Mr Cameron stood by the Welwyn Hatfield MP, insisting he was doing a “great job”.
Mr Shapps, who as chairman attended Cabinet as minister without portfolio, dismissed the accusations as “bonkers” and alleged that the anonymous “sock-puppet” might have been a member of Labour’s press team.
Earlier in the year, Labour demanded an immediate investigation into whether Mr Shapps had breached the codes of conduct for ministers and MPs after it was revealed that he continued working as a marketer of get-rich-quick schemes under the pseudonym Michael Green after entering Parliament. He had emphatically denied the accusation only weeks earlier.
Andrew Feldman was made a life peer by Mr Cameron in 2010 and has served as co-chairman of the Conservative Party, alongside Mr Shapps, since then.
According to the Conservative Home website, the peer, a barrister turned businessman, and the PM have been close friends since meeting at Oxford where they played tennis together.
Lord Feldman was also responsible for raising money during Mr Cameron’s successful Tory leadership campaign in 2005. He became the Conservatives’ chief fundraiser shortly afterwards.