SIR HUMPHREY: Well, Minister, it's not my place, but on previous occasions the generally acceptable answer has been: "While one does not seek the office, one has pledged oneself to the service of one's country, and if one's friends were to persuade one that that was the best way one could serve, one might reluctantly have to accept the responsibility whatever one's own private wishes might be.
HACKER [Hurriedly scribbling in his notebook]: "...private wishes might be". Yes, I think I've got that!It is hard not to think of that exchange when reading the opening sentence of a report in today's Indpendent:
Liberal Democrat MPs and peers have approached Norman Lamb to stand for party leader, the Health minister has revealed.And Norman's quote in the article suggests he has been listening closely to Sir Humphrey:
“When people raise this with me it inevitably makes you think, in the circumstances envisaged, what would I do? I have to answer the question. I’m fiercely loyal to Nick. I always have been, but at some point there will be a further [leadership election] and I will consider the position. I am open-minded about it. My view is if people think well of the job that I’ve done [as Health minister] and people then, as a result, conclude they want me to have a go for the top job, then I will consider it.”