Sunday, July 13, 2014

More speculation on a Liberal Democrat reshuffle

Jane Merrick reports in the Independent on Sunday that reports that Nick Clegg will not be conducting a reshuffle of Liberal Democrat ministers on Tuesday when David Cameron's reshuffles his team.

As part of a concerted effort by Lib Dems for a "conscious uncoupling" from the Conservatives, he will be holding his reshuffle just before the party conference in the autumn.

Merrick quotes an unnamed "Lib Dem Source":
"We are under no obligation to be bound to David Cameron's timetable. We have a party conference later this year and at that point we will set out who we will take into the general election."
So far, so good. But some of the detail in her article is distinctly odd.

First, she tells us that there has been speculation this week that Alistair Carmichael would be sacked as Secretary of State for Scotland to make way for Jo Swinson.

No doubt Jane Merrick is better connected than I am, but this makes little sense to me. All the speculation I have come across recently has been that Jo will take Ed Davey's place as Secretary of State for Energy.

The idea of dropping Alistair in the final weeks of the referendum campaign is bizarre. As Merrick says, "this would have been seized on by Alex Salmond and his supporters as an admission of failure".

It would also ignore the fact that Alistair is fast emerging as one of the party's most effective communicators both in the media and in the Commons.

Her report also tells us that "Mr Clegg is being urged by some allies to sack Business Secretary Vince Cable".

I don't know who these allies are, but I suspect they are the usual 12-year-old special advisers.

The usual complaint against Vince is that he sounds more like an independent economic commentator than a minister.

When these SpAds are older, they will realise what a precious gift that is.

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