Published on 18 Dec 2013

Operation ‘get up Tory noses’

It’s not the first time Simon Hughes has been offered a job in government. But this time he felt he couldn’t refuse.

Operation “get up the Tory noses” (my title not theirs) kicked off with Norman Baker’s appointment to serve under Theresa May. It gains pace with Simon Hughes joining Chris Grayling’s team at Justice.

Can it be long before Tim Farron moves to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)?

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Justice minister Chris Grayling is said to have been “taken aback” by the appointment, made possible because the veteran peer, Lord McNally, is to take over at the youth justice board.

Lib Dems want to differentiate themselves more from the Tories, focus on core passions like civil liberties and reassure their target voters that their heart still beats where it did. These two reshuffle appointments are all part of that.

Simon Hughes said when he took over as deputy leader from Vince Cable that he did so because the party needed a deputy not encumbered by office. So he is expected to step down, triggering a contest that bigwigs are currently pondering.

Duncan Hames would normally be a name in the frame – an up-and-coming favourite of the leadership. But he’ll be sharing paternity/maternity duties with his wife Jo Swinson in the New Year so that’s ruled him out.

Whoever lands it is likely to be labelled a leadership contender for the future.

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5 reader comments

  1. Jon Mack says:

    I think you also have to take into account McNally’s appalling performance recently. Last week he bumbled and stumbled through a script in the Lords, got wound up by peers on both sides of the House, was utterly outflanked by peers who were on top of their subjects, got basic facts wrong, had to be corrected, and eventually conceded – by way of apology – that he’d been over promoted. The question is whether he jumped because he knew he was about to be pushed.

  2. Andrew Dundas says:

    Aren’t several different versions of “proportional representation” voting systems the core passion of the Lib-Dems? We have three different versions of their voting systems in use in Scotland. Such variety is very inconvenient for voters. Is that why Lib-Dems have abandoned their passion for “proportional representation”

    Civil Liberties, in various forms, are the passions of every Party represented in Parliament. Hardly the core passion for Lib-Dems.

    1. Neil Craig says:

      No the LDs have abandoned (unofficially because it is the only policy they have which gives them moral high ground) PR because UKIP support it & the current corrupt electoral system is the only thing that could put them in 3rd position in MPs while in 4th for votes. Also because the LDs would much rather see either Lab or Con doing well than UKIP.

  3. Andrea says:

    Hi, does anyone know how much money this Transforming Rehabilitation and privatisation of the probation service is costing us tax payers. Im hoping Simon Hughes is going to help grayling on his way out and before he does any more damage.

  4. Lemog says:

    The Libdems can appoint who they want, to where they want, to say what they want but it is not going to make the slightest bit off difference come the next general election when they will be cast back into the wilderness from whence they came and well deserved it will be too

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