'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Lib Dem Cabinet

Following on from my full cabinet reshuffle last week (still no thank you note from the PM) my mind turned to what, right now, would a full Lib Dem cabinet look like?

I've taken official party positions, current cabinet and other ministerial posts in mind (and given this precedent over anything other then cabinet promotions), made one or two promotions, and brought in a couple of fresh faces. I have tried to reflect current influence in these areas of government, not subjective calls on who I think would be best in a role (see notes below cabinet).

So - have I got this right?

Prime Minister: Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister: Simon Hughes
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Vince Cable
Foreign Secretary: Jeremy Browne
Home Secretary: Lynne Featherstone
Women and Equality (new post): Jo Swinson
Chief Secretary: Danny Alexander
Energy and Climate Change: Ed Davey
Scottish Secretary: Michael Moore
Welsh Secretary: Mark Williams
Northern Ireland: Norman Lamb
Business: David Laws
Work and Pensions: Steve Webb
Education: Sarah Teather
Health: Paul Burstow
Defence:Nick Harvey
DCMS: Adrian Sanders
Justice: Alan Beith
Transport: Norman Baker
Environment: Dan Rogerson
International Development: Malcolm Bruce
Communities: Andrew Stunnell
Leader of the Lords: Lord McNally
Minister without Portfolio: Tim Farron

A few notes:

I promoted Vince creating a vacancy at Business - David Laws seemed the obvious candidate
Where we had someone in government in a department, I automatically promoted them to the cabinet.
The exception was Lord' two jobs' McNally - I left him as Leader of the Lords creating a vacancy at Justice
Where we had no one in a government department (except PPS), I promoted the senior member of the relevant select committee - based on experience in that area, not because I thought they were naturally the best for the job.
Where there was still a gap, I made a call. There were only 2. N Ireland and Minister without portfolio (equivalent of Tory position of Party Chairman). Latter was easy. Former was hard.

Doing this there are one or two obvious MPs most party members would have in their cabinet that don't automatically fall into place. Julian Huppert is one.

Who else have I missed?

Interestingly you end up with 21 men and just three women in this cabinet. Maybe time we looked again at how good (or rather bad) we are at promoting women.


  1. Richard,

    And perhaps you might have looked at the Lords, utilising some of the talent and expertise there...

  2. Ah yes, you are quite right to pull me up on that! I should probably do the exercise again anyway, based on what I'd like it to be rather than how it would be. Wrestled with what had primacy - Lords vs Commons select committees.

  3. Don Foster would surely go to DCMS? and I suspect David Heath would be Leader of the House of Commons.

  4. Anon - you're probably right on Don but by my 'rules' I put Adrian in as he is our only rep on DCMS select committee. You're certainly right on David - but currently leader of the Commons is not a full cabinet post (unlike Leader of the Lords, which is). Strange one that.