Jo Swinson tipped to replace Ed Davey in Cabinet reshuffle…

Jo Swinson Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer AffairsInteresting speculation from George Eaton in the New Statesman that Nick Clegg may have been listening to Stephen Tall and is about to reshuffle the Cabinet, replacing Ed Davey with Jo Swinson. Jenny Willott would take over Jo’s job at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

The report says:

A senior party source suggests that Jo Swinson could replace Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, in the party’s top team. Swinson, who recently returned from maternity leave (she is married to fellow Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames), has long been regarded as the strongest female candidate to enter the cabinet. She is a Clegg loyalist, a strong media performer, and has impressed during her time as a business minister. Her current post would likely be filled by Jenny Willott, who covered for Swinson while she was on leave. If she does enter the cabinet, Swinson the youngest-ever female cabinet minister and the first cabinet minister born in the 1980s.

If this report is accurate, though, Stephen won’t get his wish that Vince Cable should stay as our Economic Spokesman.



Photo by the Departament for Business, Innovation and Skills

* Newsmoggie – bringing you comment from a different perspective

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Does this imply demotion or the sack for Ed Davey?

  • Gwyn Williams 10th Jul '14 - 4:00pm

    Ed Davey has been a very able and competent Energy Secretary. His sacking would be entirely unfair. If Nick Clegg were Tony Blair he would take one look at the continuing furore over the Royal Mail and sack Vince. Jo would be the ideally positioned replacement. But Nick is not Blair. He probably could not survive the maelstrom that would be unleashed from such decisive action.

  • If Nick Clegg were Tony Blair he would take one look at the continuing furore over the Royal Mail and sack Vince

    I always got the impression that Nick : Vince :: Tony : Gordon, and he couldn’t sack him.

  • Peter Chegwyn 10th Jul '14 - 4:44pm

    I completely agree with Gwyn Williams that “Ed Davey has been a very able and competent Energy Secretary. His sacking would be entirely unfair”.

    As a wider point, with the GE just 10 months away does it make sense to have in the Cabinet MPs who are facing a tough fight to defend highly marginal seats?

    Wouldn’t their time be better spent in their constituencies?

  • Paul Pettinger 10th Jul '14 - 4:56pm

    ‘That’s a shame because no one wants to make a formal complaint’

    Surely Jenny Willott is (and regardless of recent events) a better choice

  • matt (Bristol) 10th Jul '14 - 4:58pm

    Well, this is the problem that has been pointed out before by Tony Greaves elsewhere on this site; a party on a falling tide (and a coaltion partner at that) can only make significant demographic change in its ministerial representation, leadership or candidature but hacking out good wood to be replaced with what is potentially as good or better, but unproven.

    (Heavily mixed metaphors there, but I hope you get my drift – oh, I’m at it again).

    Lots of people have said repeatedly that they would like more women and specifically Jo Swinson in a more prominent role; this is the price of it, apparently. I guess we need to ask ourselve how else were we going to get this much-desired outcome without apparent cost to others whom we like or respect? Ask Dave to sack a Tory for us?

    And boo to the suggestion of Vince not being economic spokesperson.

    But this is all speculation anyway, so why am I here.

  • As a matter of interest, we seem to be missing John Tilley’s comments these last few days. I am sure he would remind us of Ed’s reversal of longstanding Lib Dem policy on allowing new nuclear (at very high prices) and going along far too easily with fracking. He has not shown the combative nature that Chris Huhne showed against entrenched Tory defences of the petrochemical industry. To advance towards a low carbon tech world, we have to bare those teeth. On a deeper level, he is far too market-orientated, far too little regulation-orientated.

  • I haven’t been convinced with Davey. Competent, yes, but I’m not sure you could say any more. I agree with Tim13.

    However, I would much rather keep Davey if it meant Cable was our economic spokesman. Without wanting to seem rude, Danny Alexander is a poor speaker, and would be slaughtered in a debate.
    Vince is still seen with a grudging respect by most people, he would be a far better choice.

  • Tony Greaves 10th Jul '14 - 5:36pm

    John Tilley is/has been in hospital.

    In my opinion Jo Swinson and one or two others ought to take this opportunity of resigning as Ministers so they can spend most of their remaining days in their constituencies. They might then prolong their time as MPs after 5th May next year. Assuming that is what they want to do.

    Tony Greaves

  • Jayne Mansfield 10th Jul '14 - 5:48pm

    I wish John Tilley a speedy recovery.

  • Surely in a parliamentary party of 56 MPs, brimming with talents drawn from a huge diversity of career paths, we can come up with a cabinet minister who has a wee bit more by way of life experience and transferable skills?

  • I’m very sorry to read the news about John Tilley – I hope he recovers quickly.

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Jul '14 - 5:55pm

    I’m not going to kick up a fuss about it, but I’ll be disappointed if Davey is sacked. He’s had a very hard brief, has tackled hidden profits by the energy companies, taken energy security seriously, defended green policies and has been in touch with us regularly.

    If it happens and Davey gets the sack then someone should sack Clegg from the cabinet if Lib Dems get back into government. He can’t just go around sacking good loyal ministers to save his own skin. Let’s hope it isn’t true.

    I’m also sorry to hear John Tilley is/has been in hospital.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 10th Jul '14 - 6:07pm

    I am minded not to bother about all this off-topic talk of John Tilley cos I miss him as much as you all do. If you are reading this, John, get well soon & come back in your usual robust form:-).

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Jul '14 - 6:23pm

    … it could after all have been written by John!

  • Tony Dawson 10th Jul '14 - 6:26pm

    @Tim13 :

    “Ed. . . has not shown the combative nature that Chris Huhne showed against entrenched Tory defences of the petrochemical industry. . . . .On a deeper level, he is far too market-orientated, far too little regulation-orientated.”

    And speak to any plumber or insulation contractor and the entire green deal and ECO schemes have been grossly wastefully mismanaged. Essentially, the utilities have called the shots. To be fair though, Ed has done his best to try to stop cartel-like price movements for both domestic and commercial supplies.

  • All the best to John Tilley for a quick recovery.

  • Callum Leslie 10th Jul '14 - 9:29pm

    Jo was always someone I very much admired, but she has been very disappointing in Government. The attacks on workers rights that she has spearheaded, including doubling the term of service required for an employment tribunal and introducing charges for those tribunals, has been some of the true worst of this coalition, and she was the chief apologist for tuition fees back in 2010. I hope a department where a strong Lib Dem is a needed will get a strong principled Lib Dem approach from whoever is the minister.

  • Christine Headley 10th Jul '14 - 10:23pm

    Jenny Willott was one of two (the other was Mike Crockart) who resigned as parliamentary private secretaries (PPSs) – such a low step on the ladder of government that you don’t even get paid for it – to vote against tuition fees. She is therefore the only non-backbencher I have any respect for.

  • Paul in Wokingham 10th Jul '14 - 10:24pm

    Best wishes to John Tilley – his contributions have been noticeably and regrettably absent.

  • May thanks for kind commets in this thread.
    Just coming to the end of my second week in hospital. My transplant was on 2nd July, so more weeks in hospital yet.
    Not really up to the challenges of LDV yet.
    Tim13 and Stephen Hesketh got my position on this right. The Liberal Democrat policy is for no new nuclear subsidies (agreed at the Liberal Democrat conference last autumn) .
    Whoever the person is in the post, that should remain our policy.
    Even more welcome would be a return to the much more straight-forward policy of opposition to nuclear power generation, because it is too dangerous, too expensive and because renewables are better on all rational grounds.

  • Good to see you here, John! Hope your recovery goes well.

  • Rolson Davies 11th Jul '14 - 8:09am

    Good to hear from you John. Angela was wondering how you were getting on. All the best.
    Re Ed I must admit we are very anti fracking and disappointed that we are giving way on it. Ed is a good bloke but I am reminded of something John said when congratulating him on winning Kingston by 56 votes in 1997. ‘Wherever you end up in politics don’t forget the people who got you there’ (or something similar to that) – one can also add to that don’t forget the roots from whence we come. Rolson & Angela

  • Where did “strong media performer” come from ? She was embarrassing on Question time.

  • peter tyzack 11th Jul '14 - 9:27am

    comments about ‘unattributed briefings’, albeit quite valid, are rather ironic coming from someone with a fictitious name and no photo.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th Jul '14 - 11:40am

    I voted for Liberal Democrat policies.

    Will anyone at the top levels in the party fight harder for them?

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Jul '14 - 1:13pm

    Final paragraph … store!

    Many message boards have a preview and even re-post function. Is this a technical possibility for LDV?

  • Apologies for being off-thread, but very glad to hear you are doing well John. I look forward to your future contributions.

    ATF (Tom)

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Jul '14 - 6:43pm


    I hope I may also be permitted to venture an opinion that the Rt Hon Member for Kingston and Surbiton has not been a good representative of the Liberal Democrats and its agreed and long-standing environmental and energy generation policies during his term as a Minister.

    Whether this is because he has lacked the robust approach of his immediately preceding incumbent in relation to the short-sighted, anti-green agenda, big business supporting Tories or because of a lack of support from the Rt Hon Member for Sheffield Hallam in negotiations with the Chancellor of the Exchequer remains unclear.

    Whatever the cause, I believe the green credentials of the Liberal Democrats have suffered greatly during our term in Government. This is one of our core values, not to mention being one of the reasons many ordinary members were originally drawn to the party rather than the alternatives.

    Our somewhat lacklustre performance on environmental issues might also help explain a good deal of our loss of support to the Greens.

    If we fail to promote MPs who actually believe in and fight for solid, democratically agreed Liberal Democrat policies, we have no chance of achieving the desired outcome – no matter how presentationally skilled they are.

    That such stall is set against the strength of their loyalty to the deputy Prime Minister is a measure of what is wrong with our party at present.

    I remain etc etc.

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Jul '14 - 7:42pm

    Such a pity I am unable to share the innocent opinions missing from the above post.

    If only I hadn’t recopied my stall/store mistake as well!

    Clearly some of the classic exchanges from our Parliamentary history would not be deemed acceptable here. I find this regrettable. Politics is about belief and passion – not to mention a bit of light-hearted fun. Some appear not to differentiate between an element of robust humour and malice.

  • Morgan Inwood 11th Jul '14 - 8:09pm

    If this is true and Ed is going then it is Michael Moore all over again.

  • Martin Pierce 11th Jul '14 - 8:13pm

    I am sure Jo Swinson’s prior-to -politics experience as a PR for a local radio station will provide excellent preparation for taking on the energy industry.

  • Stephen Hesketh 11th Jul '14 - 8:45pm

    @Morgan Inwood 11th Jul ’14 – 8:09pm “If this is true and Ed is going then it is Michael Moore all over again.”

    That’s odd. I seem to recall Michael Moore being both successful and popular.

    @Martin Pierce 11th Jul ’14 – 8:13pm. LOL – so humour is OK 🙂

  • I would welcome the sacking of Davey.

    He presides over a completely insane energy policy whereby the consumer pays a huge amount for power generators on standby, power generators that have been shut down because the wind speed is too low, power generators that have been shut down because the wind speed is too high, power generators that are not shut down but produce negligible power. Then we have smart meters that all the major EU states rejected because they are costly and useless.

    I could list his useless, costly initiatives all night.

  • Adam Robertson 12th Jul '14 - 1:58am

    I completely disagree with Ed Davey, being potentially sacked from the Cabinet. He has been the most competent minister for the Liberal Democrats. He has served his department well, since he has took it on from Chris Huhne.

    I wish, John Tilley, a speedy recovery and hope to see his comments on here again soon 🙂

  • I think the positioning of Jo Swinson should be done with half an eye to the future. She is a capable MP although her efforts in BIS have been a bit mixed. I’m not sure that is entirely down to her own capabilities but the mire of coalition deal-making. BIS is a difficult department to succeed in largely because of the presence of square peg ministers like Hancock and Fallon, who don’t fit in round-hole departments.

    I should say that I like the idea of her being a heavyweight as Secretary of State for DECC. If that happens, she really becomes the anti-Fallon and hopefully very forceful on the issues of fracking. It would mean she mirrored his parliamentary career (e.g. junior minister at BIS) and sits at the Cabinet before he did. If she plays her cards correctly in this post, she may prove pretty popular with even shire Tories who are fed up of Fallon.

    With respect to Ed Davey, I think the big story of the reshuffle is likely to be the number of men being shuffled out. However, the question will be the competence of women shuffled in. Of all the potential women who could be sitting at Cabinet in a months time, I’m sure everyone may tend to agree that Jo is more capable than any of the Tory MP’s mentioned thus far. On the other hand, those leaving or have asked to leave can concentrate on being the heavyweight campaigners the party needs to differentiate itself from the Tories in the general election. Ed Davey is particularly good on the soapbox and energising the party faithful.

  • I hope both Jo Swinson and Ed Davey have both informed themselves about the “accidents”, “dangerous incidents”, which have taken place in Fukushima this week


    “….  sealing off the four reactors – three of which melted down in the March 2011 disaster – is costly and not without risks. The £185 million ice wall will be built with technology that has never been used on such a large scale.

    “I’m not convinced the freeze wall is the best option,” Dale Klein, former head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a senior adviser to Tepco, recently told Kyodo News. “What I’m concerned about is unintended consequences. 

    Where does that water go and what are the consequences of that? I think they need more testing and more analysis.”

    The 1,500-metre wall will stay in use until 2020, using enough electricity every year to power 13,000 households …”

    ” Plummeting morale at Fukushima Daiichi as nuclear cleanup takes its toll
    Staff on the frontline of operation plagued by health problems and fearful about the future, “

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Steve Trevethan
    Might the root problems of yesterday’s childish and selfish behaviours be found in the extremely unsuited design of the House of Commons, the lout behaviour o...
  • Jeff
    expats 21st Feb '24 - 8:24am: I looked at the ‘trading giants’ listed… This makes my point perfectly. As with other Brexit benefits, the...
  • Neil Fawcett
    @Paul Barker - she clearly didn't hide them very well. Another member spotted that she had made some abhorrent posts on social media and put in a complaint. As ...
  • Nick Baird
    Imperfect as it is, our democracy is the sum of its parts, and one of those parts is Opposition Day debates. The second largest party gets 17 of those per parl...
  • Nigel Jones
    So good to have Layla representing us in Foreign Policy, especially on this issue. A pity she did not have time to say more, especially to put things in perspec...