The Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party, Malcolm Bruce, is set to succeed Duncan Hames as chair of the Liberal Democrats Federal Policy Committee (FPC) after Duncan decided to stand down from the post and the committee.
The FPC has rather more power in the party than policy groups in the other main parties, and it has to agree the party’s general election manifesto.
Both new and outgoing chair are more Orange Book that many in the party so ideologically this is not a major shift and says more about Duncan Hames having a marginal seat to hold whilst Malcolm Bruce has already announced his retirement.
However, Duncan Hames rarely sought to impose his own particular views on the FPC during his time chairing it – wisely so given the strong social liberal showing amongst its elected members (a showing reinforced in the recent committee elections).
Whether Malcolm Bruce tries to change this will be something to watch. It’s notable, however, that during his chairing of the party’s general election manifesto drafting group, Mr Orange Book himself David Laws has been consensual rather than ideological in his approach, seeking to draw up a document with his colleagues that has broad support across the party.