Monday, July 01, 2013

Is this why there are no Liberal Democrat defence ministers?

Last week the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond expressed surprise that the Liberal Democrats did not want to have a defence minister.

Though this Daily Telegraph interview suggested that Hammond is no fount of original ideas, he may be on to something here.

Because Nick Harvey's departure from the Ministry of Defence was not the only disappointing thing for Liberal Democrats about the last cabinet reshuffle. We also lost our hold on the Foreign Office when Jeremy Browne was moved to the Home Office. I, for one, was pleased and proud that we had Lib Dem ministers in these two important ministries.

Meanwhile David Heath, who was ideally placed as Deputy Leader of the House, received the ultimate hospital pass and found himself reinvented as Minister for Killing Badgers.

What was going on? My theory is that Nick Clegg was anxious to secure the return to office of David Laws. David is extremely able, but I suspect the odd role he was given - half schools minister, half Cabinet Office fixer - was a reflection of how small Nick's inner circle is.

In fact, I suspect that Nick was so anxious that David Cameron was able to exact quite a price in the negotiations over the reshuffle. Hence our odd retreat from Defence and the Foreign Office and the sacrifice of poor David Heath.

1 comment:

Left Lib said...

I agree it is a shame that we lost our ministers in the foreign office. However David Heath at DEFRA was meant to be a good move, many of us felt we needed a Lib Dem there. I am not sure he is doing a good job however whether it is killing badgers despite the science or not doing enough on saving the bee population.