Simon Hughes shouldn’t be underestimated as an operator. He cut his teeth getting rid of more than his fair share of Liberal Democrat leaders, and in cahoots with Vince Cable he is rocking the boat again. Deprived of a Cabinet seat, Sly Si’s near coronation as Deputy LibDem leader is more than a little contrived…
Cable has looked close to tears for the last week and his unexpected resignation as Clegg’s deputy, and now his very public endorsement of Hughes as his replacement, shows just how worried he is about the coalition. This way the beardy-weirdies have a voice.
Perhaps as punishment for refusing to bloody his hands in the Treasury, Cable has been landed with the most cuts to his department. He has had to eat humble pie on television and his reputation as an economic guru is all but shattered. Bound by collective cabinet responsibility he is neutered.
Though Vince may have been exposed as bit of sham and the bookies make him favourite to be the first cabinet minister to resign, don’t think he isn’t going to go down without a fight, and never forget how vicious LibDem infighting can be. So who does he turn to start causing trouble? His old mucker Hughes of course – the whole swap looks like a well executed plan – interestingly his only challenger for the leadership thus far is Tim Farron – who has been a Hughes protege and ally for many years (and was a senior figure in both Simon’s leadership campaigns).
See also Cable’s Positioning