20 Feb 2012

Les Ebdon job shows Vince’s enhanced power

The Les Ebdon saga illustrates another consequence of the Chris Huhne resignation. Vince Cable‘s position in the coalition is enhanced by being the last big beast left below DPM level. He is less easy to push around, as Nick Clegg discovered when he went off, at the request of David Cameron, to see if the business secretary would budge on the Ebdon appointment. Answer came back: nope.

And the DPM and PM calculated there is was nothing much they could do about that.

There does appear to have been a premature confirmation to Mr Ebdon of his appointment which made it legally even trickier to extricate the government from (as @SteveHiltonGuru is suggesting on Twitter ).

But the real obstacle, I hear, was Dr Cable himself. He seems to be acutely aware of his own enhanced power and his allies say No. 10’s hit-back with the announcement that there would not be penalties for graduates paying back loans early barely dented the ski jacket he was wearing last week.

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