Take me to your leader(s): irritation at Westminster

A year ago she was introduced to the Welsh Conservative conference (remember them?) as "the leader of the Welsh Conservative Party".

So you may understand why Cheryl Gillan is said to be "irritated" by what some Tory MPs see as an attempt to grab the title for himself by Andrew RT Davies, currently leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh assembly.

The reason for her irritation is not apparently that she wants the job for herself, rather that she feels the idea is a distraction when the Tories would be better occupied campaigning for the local elections and holding the Welsh government to account.

I'm told that's a message Mrs Gillan communicated to Mr Davies in a telephone call this morning.

The build-up to the local elections hasn't stopped Tories indulging in a fresh bout of speculation about Cheryl Gillan's own future.

Recent PR disasters over the sale of her constituency home and her change of view on high speed rail have added to concerns among Tories at Westminster over her low profile in Wales despite numerous official visits to the land of her birth.

Her future is a topic of conversation in government circles as we approach the second anniversary of the coalition government.

David Cameron has so far resisted the temptation to go in for the sort of traditional reshuffle favoured by his predecessors (with mixed results).

But the prime minister may shortly be forced to look for a new environment and climate change secretary and some MPs believe a limited reshuffle involving Chris Huhne could yet involve a change at the Wales Office.

Replacing Cheryl Gillan would not be without political risks. It would reduce the number of women in the cabinet (unless Maria Miller, once of Bridgend, is the next secretary of state).

Basingstoke MP Mrs Miller, despite her background, would not be considered "Welsh enough" by some Tories anxious for a "Welsh-based" secretary of state.

Mrs Gillan's deputy, David Jones, remains a parliamentary under-secretary of state - most cabinet newcomers are chosen from among the middle-ranking ministers of state.

Cardiff North MP Jonathan Evans has ministerial experience but has so far been overlooked by this prime minister - and would have to give up lucrative outside interests to join the government.

Labour figures occasionally suggest the man they would fear is the independent-minded Glyn Davies, currently Mrs Gillan's parliamentary bag carrier. That could, of course, be a double bluff, but his appointment would have attractions in a Welsh context although he might have to be a little more discreet about his views on the consequences of government policy.

It's probably too early in the year for a first sighting of the "secretary of state for the nations" reshuffle story but - despite the withdrawal of her resignation threat over HS2 - it is striking how widely Mrs Gillan's future is being discussed in Conservative circles.