EXCLUSIVE: 72% of Lib Dem members backed reshuffle return for David Laws. (But it wasn’t to be.)

Earlier this week, LibDemVoice started asking party members signed up to our discussion forum a range of questions — the survey is still live, but one of the questions is already a little previous so we’re reporting it early…

We asked: Would you support or oppose David Laws making a return to government at the next reshuffle?

  • Yes – to a cabinet post 58%
  • Yes – but only to a non-cabinet post in government 14%
  • No – he should not return to the government at the next reshuffle 21%
  • Don’t know / No opinion 7%

In total, then, 72% of Lib Dem members in our sample wanted to see David Laws return to a ministerial post in the Coalition government, with most wanting to see him return to the cabinet 18 months after he was forced to resign. However, a significant minority, 21%, opposed his return, at least at the ‘next’ reshuffle (as it then was). You can read a sample of the comments received from members below.

Nick Clegg was asked directly about a return for David Laws in Paul Waugh’s excellent interview for The House magazine — here’s how he replied:

Speaking of possible ministerial reshuffles, would he bring back David Laws at non-cabinet level if needed? “I’m not wildly hierarchical and David certainly isn’t. It’s one of the many things that I like so much about David, he’s a sort of an unusual combination of being a politician but actually quite a modest character, which you don’t find very often in politics. David is not after status. What I would like to see David do is to be close to the centre of power in one shape or form with, ideally, quite a broad view of government policy, because I think he’s got an ability to see the connections between policies – which is quite unusual.”

So though David may not have returned officially to the heart of government in Friday’s reshuffle, we can be pretty sure unofficially he’ll be there or thereabouts regardless.

Those are Nick’s thoughts; here are some of our party members’:

Running the country well is more important than some pretty trivial personal tomfoolery. If he’s the right person for the job, give him the job.

David Laws is an exceptionally capable individual that should be central to our government and its achievements.

No objection to him being in government per se, I’d just rather we kept some of our best people available to be Lib Dems rather than government spokespeople.

A very gifted man, but his ethics and integrity were found to be incompatible with his position.

He does not represent the kind of liberalism I generally support, but he is probably our most intelligent and competent MP and deserves a place at the Cabinet table.

Good man, but I’d like someone less right-wing in the cabinet.

There is no doubt that David is immensely talented and would make a valuable contribution to government. But I would prefer that he remains outside of the government, supporting the Lib Dems in government and looking to the future and the 2015 election.

He is valuable and, writing as an older gay person, I know the fear that some folk have of being “out” – I had this once. He has been punished enough.

His resignation shouldn’t have happened, but I see why he did it. Bring him back.

But much as I would love to see David back in the Cabinet, can we PLEASE have a woman LD Cabinet minister first!!!

We can’t afford to waste talent like his although I’m sure he is playing a major role behind he scenes

David Laws is a clever man who behaved stupidly. He’s paid the price. He’d be an asset in Government – provided he’s not turned Tory-Lite.

Should not return to government until he has been re-elected as an MP.

He’s a talented man but his re-appointment would play badly when the public still regards most politicians as corrupt.

He’s the brightest and the best MP we have. Bring him back!

  • Over 1,200 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Some 436 responded to the latest survey between 31st January and 3rd February.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past accurately predicted the winners of the contest for Party President, and the result of the conference decision to approve the Coalition agreement.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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    This entry was posted in LDV Members poll.

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