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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5 reader comments

  1. It doesn't add up... says:

    Why is everyone trying to paper over Willetts’ responsibility for this? He supported Ebdon hook, line and sinker. Cameron got snookered by refusing to play the black ball. They’re all in it together.

  2. Saltaire Sam says:

    Pity he’s not using some of that power to stop the privatisation of the NHS, or the massive hike in university tuition fees that he and his party promised to scrap.

    I used to think Cable was a man of integrity but it turns out he, like so many other politicians, just wanted power at any price.

  3. Philip Edwards says:


    So the neocon clerks shuffle around.

    So what?

  4. Feargal says:

    Cable is no different from the rest of the Libdems – fundamentally dishonest, without many principles, and – at the next election – dead meat.

  5. sue_m says:

    Power? Purrleeese! The Libdems have no power in this govt at all – the Lords do more to temper the Nasty Party and they aren’t doing much.

    Libdems are allowed to appear in public and speak their mind occasionally to suit the Tory PR machine. I just hope they wake up and realise a handful of positions in this govt aren’t worth the pay-off of abandoning their political values and the oblivion of their party from 2015 onwards. If they get out sooner they might just salvage some dignity and a few seats for their MPs. A sad sad demise if not.

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