Is it time for a Lib Dem Foreign Secretary?

March 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

David Laws...the next Foreign Secretary?

So, according to most media pundits, and some un-named Tory MP’s, William Hague has ‘lost his mojo’ and is not long for this political world.

So if, and it’s a big if despite the current media row, Mr Hague was to step down (because Cameron surely wouldn’t sack the man who has been his number two in the party, in all but name, for more than half a decade) who’d replace him?

According to some media reports this afternoon the favourite is Andrew Mitchell, the current Secretary of State for International Development.

But my question is: is it not now time for a Lib Dem Foreign Secretary?

The last Liberal to hold the office is so long ago it’s almost beyond living memory.

At the moment none of the so-called ‘Big Offices of State’ (Prime Minister, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary, and Home Secretary) are held by Lib Dems…if Hague goes, surely a Lib Dem must replace him?

But, I hear you ask, who would that be?

Well, we have plenty of excellent Members of Parliament but, of course, our biggest foreign affairs specialist is former party leader, Sir Menzies Campbell (who, for the record, I interviewed for local commercial radio a few years ago.)

Sir Ming would fit the role of Foreign Secretary perfectly…he has one of the best grasp on international matters in the whole House of Commons.

Two problems present themselves: Has he hijacked his chances by so openly attacking the Foreign Office’s actions on Libya, both in the House of Commons and on TV? And, could he hold office in this Government with it being known he’s voted against other key Government policies?

So, Sir Ming may not be a very realistic option.

What about David Laws? Could he make his Cabinet comeback in the Foreign Secretary?

I don’t know how genned up he is on foreign matters, but he proved himself a very competent minister in his brief period as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and I’m sure he’d soon get himself up to date.

Whoever it is, I believe there’s a very strong case for the next Foreign Secretary to be a Liberal Democrat.

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§ One Response to Is it time for a Lib Dem Foreign Secretary?

  • Neil says:

    If I remember rightly from the Coalition Agreement, if a member of one of the coalition parties leaves the cabinet, they would have to be replaced by a member of the same party. Of course, this doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen but would require a reshuffle – potentially quite a major one.

    A (very) brief period as Chief Secretary to the Treasury to Foreign Secretary would be a heck of a promotion, not saying that is necessarily something that would automatically stop Laws, for from it in fact.

    I’d also suggest making a Lib Dem a holder of one of the four Great Offices of State is the last thing the unnamed Conservatives would want. My guess would be they are pushing for Liam Fox, though that’s pure guesswork.

    In summary, I doubt those in the Conservative Party who want Hague out, assuming this is more than just tittle-tattle, would be happier with a Lib Dem in his place than no change. And given May could prove a huge test of the coalition, it may rock the boat too much to ponder too deeply.

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