More LibDems Support Coalition Than Tories

As Simon Hughes sits in his palatial office this morning, as Vince takes a political moment at BIS and Charlie Kennedy emerges bleary eyed at some point closer to lunchtime, there will be some uncomfortable polling news for them to chew over. LibDemVoice has been asking the sandalistas what they think of the coalition with the Tories. For those inherently against the idea, and looking to cause trouble, it will make for a frustrating read.

84% of LibDem members support the coalition versus just 11% against. 74% approve of the record to date. 43% of members think the coalition will harm their electoral prospects though. With the LibDems slumping to 15% in last night’s YouGov poll, they could well be right. The narrative has been that it will be Clegg that faces his party splitting first, but if you compare the LibDem poll to a similar one conducted by ConservativeHome it appears the coalition is more popular amongst the yellows…

Room on the Sixth

It is a truth universally acknowledged in Westminster that the sixth floor of Portcullis House has the best offices in Parliament. More like penthouses than offices, they’re each accessed from the fifth floor via an internal staircase and have windows facing both sides of the building, over the atrium and out over London.  There are only six of them. Two face north over the Whitehall rooftops, one faces across St James Park to Buckingham Palace, two face the Palace of Westminster (Gordon Brown has a one of these). The best and last remained unfilled. Considered one of the very best offices in Parliament, office 603 sports a magnificent vista over the River Thames towards the City.

Formerly the domain of Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan, she fought fiercely to keep it – a little greedily as she has a spanking Secretary of State’s suite in Gwydyr House. Eventually she was forced to squeeze into one of the ministerial offices in the Palace. Her parliamentary staff were cast wailing from the Garden of Eden into a subterranean hole beneath the Chamber. By this time, the very best office in the Commons was the very last to be allocated, tormenting the aspirations of exiled Labour Cabinet Ministers and thwarted Tory Shadow Ministers alike.

He might have been vetoed by Nick Clegg from taking his opposition brief in Government, but former Shadow Europe Minister Mark Francois has done his masters proud as Accommodation Whip. Everything he can do to keep the coalition together and therefore the Government in office has been done. Where could 603, this ultimate flagship of Whips’ patronage, most effectively be bestowed?

Should a LibDem should be allowed to ascend to the sixth floor for the first time, to bind that flakey crew to Osborne’s Budget with golden fetters? Naturally it would have to be one of the few LibDem MPs not sitting on the Treasury bench, to buy off potential disaffection as their leaders’ compromise in office. And among that elite band, who is the most influential and unreliable? In the end there was only one choice. Perhaps Simon Hughes’ support for the Coalition will be a little more steadfast, now that he can look down on his constituency from his desk.

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed bag-carrying co-conspirator points out that Simon Hughes has really been making himself at home recently. No content with the best office, he has also taken to parking his specially converted taxi in conspicuous places around the estate. Don’t you forget about him…

The Boy Done Good

Edelman Public Affairs quietly announced a couple of days ago that they had promoted a couple of their staff to joint Managing Directors. Step forward one Jamie Lundie, lover and landlord of David Laws. Perhaps now he will be able to pay his own mortgage without any public assistance.

He has also answered an age-old question of who do you have to f**k to get promoted around here…

Featherstone’s Facebook Fight

For a self-proclaimed social media guru, LibDem Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone seems to be bouncing from scrape to scrape online. First there were the mandarins who had to take her aside and discreetly suggest perhaps it wasn’t particularly ministerial to discuss being in the bath on Twitter, and now her Facebook activities might cause a few red faces:

Why exactly is a LibDem Coalition Minister part of a Facebook campaign called LibDems Against Tory Coalition?

UPDATE: Lynne’s some what grumpy and aggressive staffer attempted to give Guido the 101 on how to use Facebook. The line is that the person must have changed their name after inviting his boss to be their friend. “Do you seriously expect her to monitor all those people?” Well yes, we do. If she is going to claim to “get” social media and run her own profile, then she needs to put her money where her mouth is.

A Month Later

There was a flurry of excitement in yellow circles this morning as Lembit Opik declared he would like to run for Mayor of London for the LibDems. It all seemed rather familiar though.

Regular readers will remember that Guido told you this nearly a month ago:

He doesn’t understand why they bothered denying it at the time.

The campaign doesn’t seem to be getting off to a strong start though. The comments on LibDem Voice discussion at the prospect aren’t exactly in favour, with words such as “under NO CIRCUMSTANCES”, “idle” “self indulgent tosser” and “publicity-seeking fool” featuring heavily. But then again who ever thought Boris would get the Tory nomination…

Should ‘Cleggeron’ Speak at Tory and LibDem Conferences?

Next month it will be decided, according to the Guardian, as to if Dave will speak at Nick’s party conference and vice-versa:

The issue is due to be discussed at a joint political cabinet at the end of July, when the two parties will also decide how to co-ordinate policy announcements at their respective conferences and how to sell the success of the joint government’s first few months.

Risky. Very, very risky. It could end in tears since the grassroots of both parties have fought viscerally for generations. A lot of booing won’t look good on telly…

Currently punters on specialist bookies Political Smarkets lean towards it happening, giving a 60% chance of Clegg addressing Tory conference and a 70% probability that Cameron will try to charm the sandalistas. Guido reckons they are asking for trouble…

Hughes Breaks Cover, Manoeuvring or Messing Up?

Simon Hughes has just thrown a spanner into the works. He told the Commons earlier:

“When it comes to the Budget next week, we will vote for the budget. But if there are measures in the Finance Bill where we could improve fairness and make for a fairer Britain, then we will come forward with amendments to do that.”

A spectacularly inappropriate choice of words for the deputy leader of a governing party to come out with. Whether this was a cack-handed attempt at broadening some budget measures, or a deliberate dig at his leader and the coalition only time will tell. When Vince stitched up the deputy leadership election for Hughes, Guido speculated they were on manoeuvres. With displays of rebellion like this it’s hard not to believe Hughes is escalating towards an anti-coalition jihad.

Gove Smooths Yellow Feathers

The Liberal Democrat Local Government conference came together on Saturday afternoon. Not normally an event that would get a second look on this blog, councillors from around the country were there to listen to a keynote from Clegg. But in these ever-changing times which face in the crowd stuck out? None other that Michael Gove, who Guido understands was not speaking to the whole grouping, but there to butter up thirty key LibDem education types.

Telling them he “understood the concerns” within the Liberal Democrat ranks about academies and free schools, Gove was on a PR drive; “my principal concern is the poorest-performing children”,  “Local education authority will continue to have a strong role, guarantor and coordinator of admissions policy, standards and key services…”

Speculation is growing that the Nick and Dave show might do a swap and address each other’s conferences, could Gove have been a scouting party to test the LibDem water?

Huhne Leaving Wife for Mistress Exposed by News of the World

The News of the Screws has the scoop

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is leaving his wife of 26 years after confessing to a long standing affair, the News of the World can reveal.  Huhne, 55, has been enjoying trysts with

[…]

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Lib Dems Feeling Shorted

The very real effects of no longer receiving Short money are beginning to hit the LibDems. Twenty staffers whose salaries were all covered by it have been fired from their press and research teams, as well as from Nick Clegg’s […]

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Coalition Creaks as Hughes Crowned

Within twelve hours of being elected deputy leader of the LibDems, Simon Hughes is straight out of the trouble-making blocks. Working Millbank this morning, there is no denying he is relishing being the opposition in government. “Being in coalition doesn’t […]

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Exclusive: Lembit4London

There was some speculation yesterday from hacks and EyeSpyMP what exactly former MP Lembit Opik was doing loitering around Parliament. After a brief flirt with TV punditry in those coalition negotiating days, it seems Lembit has bigger and better plans.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

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