Political

The fallout from Chris Huhne’s resignation

I’ve been busy with the media yesterday and today giving my take on Chris Huhne’s resignation, so here are the two main highlights if you missed them:

The Lib Dem Voice survey results I mention are covered in the piece Which four Liberal Democrat ministers have most improved their standings in 2011? and for more on why I rate Ed Davey’s record see Community Buying: a welcome move from Ed Davey (an approach very relevant to his new post) and Ed Davey: someone getting the messaging right.

Helped by having known for a long time that Friday’s events might occur, Nick Clegg and the media team handled events very calmly and efficiently in the circumstances I thought, with the reshuffle and surrounding media coverage looked after well.

The reshuffle also throws some light on how far Nick Clegg is willing to take his commitment to greater diversity in Liberal Democrat ranks. Both the new entrants to government are women (Jo Swinson and Jenny Willott), but once again the Liberal Democrat Cabinet ranks are solidly male. How much you view that as glass part full or glass mostly empty depends mostly on your expectations I suspect.

It is likely that in addition to joining the government, Jo Swinson will take over as chair of the Federal Policy Committee – the first time a woman has chaired the body. This is a very influential role in the party, particularly when it comes to general election manifestos, and given that the majority of the electorate is female it is perhaps about time that the party had a talented woman in the post.

Jo has also got a very good track record at turning potentially dry, abstract policy into effective campaigns which generate media coverage. Assuming she does take up the post, her influence on the policy process will be fascinating to watch – and very positive.

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