Last night Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, former Oxford West and Abingdon MP Evan Harris and Jeremy Hargreaves were elected to be the Federal Policy Committee’s three Vice-Chairs. Evan and Jeremy have long been high-profile figures in the party’s policy-making process and Julian has rapidly joined their ranks as his profile in the party has risen over the last couple of years.
So what is notable about the trio is not any of their presence in it, but that Danny Alexander, former FPC Vice-Chair and in charge of the 2010 manifesto team but now a Cabinet Minister, is no-longer one of the three. There is a strong argument that a government minister does not have sufficient time for the role and the choice of Vice-Chairs will give the FPC an even clearer direction as setting out Liberal Democrat policy rather than justifying coalition government policy. Ensuring that all the party’s minister are fully involved in the party’s policy making process will be a major challenge over the next years, especially as before the election not exactly all shadow ministers were fully involved – and that was before the extra pressures and distractions of ministerial office.