A couple of observations about Vince’s reshuffle

So Vince Cable reshuffled his top team today.

There’s a very interesting change of language. No longer are they called the Shadow Cabinet. That probably makes sense for a team of 12 MPs out of 650. They will henceforth be known as spokespeople.

So who has the top jobs? A full list is here.

The team is gender balanced. In fact there is a majority of women – 15 out of the 29. That includes long time Vince ally Dee Doocey who is coming in with a Spokesperson without Portfolio.  This would certainly enable her to obtain a profile over a wide range of subjects. I don’t even know if this has been thought of, but it crosses my mind that she could be a contender for party president when Sal Brinton comes to the end of her constitutionally allowed terms in 2019. If it happens, remember that you heard it here first.

As requested in the comments, for those of you who don’t know Dee, she’s had a very long history in the party and the Liberal Party before it. Back in the day she was the Finance Director of the Liberal Party. She has been a Richmond Councillor and Greater London Assembly Member who was appointed to the House of Lords back in 2010. She’s been running Vince Cable’s elections for 25 years. You can read more about her here. 

Vince has a job

The Leader doesn’t normally have a job in these circumstances but when you are the most credible voice on the economy in the House of Commons or not the country, it would be daft if he didn’t speak up on these issues. Susan Kramer will reprise her role on this in the Lords.

More experience than Corbyn’s front bench

While they may not be called the Shadow Cabinet any more, they are more entitled to call themselves that than the Labour front bench. There are no fewer than, by my reckoning, seven former ministers, including Vince, Alistair and Ed as former Cabinet ministers.

Where’s Norman?

Eleven of the twelve MPs have portfolios. Norman Lamb, however, after a long and distinguished period as Health Spokesperson and before that Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, is sitting this one out.

There is no suggestion of any rancour, just that he’s going to be doing his own thing on building cross-party consensus on health reforms. It certainly should not be seen as Vince not giving him anything. He’s also chairing the Science and Technology Committee so will have his hands full with that.

Tim for the North

Tim Farron may be the only northern English MP we have, so this was a natural job for him, but he will do a great job on rural affairs, environment and standing up for the North of England.

Our spokesperson on young people is 68

Mike Storey has a long record of championing young people, so this may not be as weird as it sounds. However, he will have to be seen to be listening to some actual young people.

Of the new team, Vince said:

I am fortunate to lead such a great, gender-balanced team, which is comprised of the most talented and promising politicians in the House of Commons and battle-hardened, experienced campaigners.

The team has a wealth of senior ministerial experience. It also includes the former council leaders of Newcastle and Liverpool, signalling my intention to restore and build on our local government base.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Katharine Pindar 12th Oct '17 - 5:58pm

    Please tell us something about Dee Doocey’s background and experience, as the name is new to some of us. Good to know we have so many well-qualified people to speak for us.

  • David Blake 12th Oct '17 - 6:07pm

    There’s some information here https://www.libdems.org.uk/dee_doocey

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 12th Oct '17 - 6:11pm

    Have added that in to the main article, Katharine.

  • We’ll be electing our Leader from the Lords next.

  • David Becket 12th Oct '17 - 10:31pm

    @Paul P
    When you have 12 MPs, one is doing other things and the other 11 you have given jobs who do you give the rest of the jobs to?

  • The Green Party have someone as co-leader who isn’t elected to any public positions.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Oct '17 - 10:23am

    Katharine Pindar 12th Oct ’17 – 5:58pm:
    Imagine Boris Johnson waffling at Mayor’s Question Time and complaining that some of his questioners do not share his bias, Dee Doocey in the chair, the equivalent of Speaker in the Greater London Assembly.
    Imagine a Liberal Democrat Federal Conference with Dee Doocey in the chair. A red light means that the person speaking has no more time, but continues speaking and is not Charles Kennedy. At interventions the time limit is one minute, so delegates should prepare carefully before the microphone is cut off.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Oct '17 - 11:06am

    Paul P 12th Oct ’17 – 11:45pm: The Green co-leader was on the Daily Politics during the Green conference. He has stood for the Commons in the past (2015?) and intends to stand again at the next general election. He said he was working in their target seats. What he is not doing is sharing the role of MP for Brighton Pavilion

  • Mick Taylor 13th Oct '17 - 1:04pm

    I don’t recall Dee ever being in the SDP. She worked for the Liberal Party when I was a young Liberal, so I suspect she was also a Liberal Party member, not SDP.

  • Matt (Bristol) 13th Oct '17 - 1:12pm

    Bit worried that Mike Storey’s age gives the media an attack line against Vince …

    I have already been joshed by a friend who stated that Vince would see Mike Storey was youthful since he would still have been in primary school when Vince was sitting his A levels…

    But overall, it seems to be a team that knows what it is doing.

  • Elaine Woodard 13th Oct '17 - 1:56pm

    I wish you’d just kept the article to the spokespeople and not included the spectre of Dee Doocey as Party President. I must admit to only meeting her once but on the basis of that she certainly wouldn’t be my choice.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th Oct '17 - 2:35pm

    I do not know the spokespeople as people , only many of them as politicians. Sir Vince presumably does.

    I do not presume to advise him on that which I know much less about than him.

    I do know the absence of Norman, and I do understand the need for him to be cross party too as he chairs an important committee, is going to be very significant on an area of huge importance with no spokesperson in the Commons, a big loss.

    I do know that Mike Storey is terrific, but , “fish and chips Story ” as he was known in his home turf, because he is always in the papers, and that is a true story and a good joke, despite being a terrific man and politician, is no youth !

    I also know that to promote obvious brilliant communicators and popular figures, like Maajid Nawaz, and Floella Benjamin would do us far more good than all the experienced and long serving well placed intimates of the ongoing leaderships of the recent many years.

    I like many of the team, but fail to see the media who ignore us getting excited .

  • Alisdair McGregor 13th Oct '17 - 2:46pm

    It’s probably worth stating that Mike Storey’s full role is Education, Families and Young People, and that he’s a former School Teacher and Head Teacher as well as having served as Chair of Education on Liverpool Council.

    He’s also written some articles on this site: https://www.libdemvoice.org/author/mike-storey

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