Opinion: ‘Nick Clegg in drive to boost Liberal Democrats’ influence’

In March I wrote here on Liberal Democrat Voice about a report by the Institute for Government which recommended a series of measures to bolster LibDem influence within the government.

The report can be read in full here.

I’m delighted to say that there is evidence that this report’s recommendations are being acted upon.

The Telegraph today reports that seven new Liberal Democrat advisers are to be appointed across Whitehall, particularly concentrating on the Health department, the Home Office and other ministries without a lead LibDem cabinet minister.

According to the Sunday Times, three of these new advisers have already been appointed: Bridget Harris, who will work in the House of Lords, Christine Jardine, who specialises in Scottish policy and John Foster who will work for the health department and the work and pensions department.

One of the new advisers will cover the Home Office and Justice ministry. This has, reportedly, incurred the displeasure of none other than the Home Secretary:

A Whitehall source told The Sunday Times: “Theresa has made it pretty clear she’s not happy about a Lib Dem being given access to everything that crosses her desk. She’ll have a Liberal Democrat special adviser based in her department and she’s not keen on the idea.
“However, Nick [Clegg] has argued that the Lib Dems need to be bolstered in some departments. He doesn’t think they have enough clout.”

This has got to a very welcome development for the LibDems. We’re being asked to lie down in front of an oncoming electoral bus for this government. We should at least be given the courtesy of knowing what the Sam Hill is going on in all departments.

Paul Walter blogs at Liberal Burblings

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  • Bill le Breton 23rd Oct '11 - 8:12pm

    This will be very good news if they are campaigners and useless if they are policy wonks.

  • LondonLiberal 24th Oct '11 - 12:11pm

    Given that the Tories use their Spads to undermine our ministers, and their friends in the media to campaign against our policies in the coalition, the least we could do is get a few advisors to keep an eye on the nasty sods.

  • At a time when many public services are being affected by cuts and local councils are shedding thousands of jobs, is it really good politics (or a good example to the rest of us) to be appointing more special advisers? Who will pay their wages, the party or the taxpayer?

    Before anyone points it out, yes, I know Labour had lots of special advisers in office. I also know that David Cameron said that, if he became PM, there would be a big cull of special advisers. Maybe, instead of the LibDems hiring more special advisers, they should be pressing the Tories to axe some of theirs in the name of “austerity”.

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