Vince reshuffles Lib Dem spokespeople

Vince  has announced several changes to his top team of spokespeople.

Tim Farron will be taking over the Communities and Local Government  brief, which really suits him with his longstanding interest in housing. Wera Hobhouse moves from there to cover Energy and Climate Change.

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine will now cover issues relating to Work and Pensions, taking on the portfolio vacated by Stephen Lloyd when he resigned the Whip in December.  Jamie Stone becomes Scottish spokesperson. Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael will speak on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Vince said of his new team:

I am pleased to announce today our new spokespeople who will speak out on the most important issues we face in Britain today.

While Parliament is consumed by Brexit, we need to remember that people are also affected by a whole host of other challenges.

We will continue to speak up for them as we continue our fight for the public to have a say on the Brexit deal with a People’s Vote.

It’s disconcerting that Lynne Featherstone no longer seems to have a spokesperson role given that she is one of the party’s best performers. She used to do energy and climate change in the Lords but that role has now gone to Chris Fox.

We also see Dee Doocey, who is Vince’s new Chief of Staff,  as Spokesperson without Portfolio. She’s actually been doing the role for a while, along with the tourism brief, but she’ll have more scope to use it now that she’s heading up his office.

Archy Kirkwood takes on DWP matters in the Lords, working with Christine Jardine who will be doing the role in the Commons.

As far as diversity is concerned, there’s a majority of women – 21/39. There’s only I think 2 from BAME backgrounds, though, and 1 that I can see with a disability and 1 LGBT.

You can see the whole list here.

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

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This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • marcstevens 7th Feb '19 - 6:13pm

    It’s also disappointing that the excellent Floella Benjamin hasn’t been offered a role in the new team.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Feb '19 - 6:38pm

    @Stephen: Norman is concentrating on being Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee.

  • Andrew Page 7th Feb '19 - 7:01pm

    Thank you Lynne for that clarification.

    Pleased to hear you’re on the mend.

  • John Barrett 7th Feb '19 - 7:20pm

    As far as diversity is concerned, there is one other problem the party suffers from.

    The fact that there are approximately twice as many unelected people on the above list as there are those who are elected. Can anyone explain why there is such a reliance on unelected Lords as spokesmen and women for the party?

    This imbalance does nothing to help us reconnect with the wider public, or to rebuild our democratic credentials, when we rely on so many appointed individuals to speak on behalf of the party.

    There must be an abundance of able and capable people, with a wide range of work and other experience, out in the country, who would make excellent representatives for the party. Some who might also be future elected members of Parliament, councillors and leaders of national campaigns outside of Westminster.

    We need to look outside the Westminster bubble if we are to make an impact in the media, on-line and with the wider public.

  • Matt (bristol) 7th Feb '19 - 8:46pm

    Will Wera Hobhouse keep campaigning on Sex for Rent, or will the pressure let up if someone else takes on the portfolio?

  • Following Norman Lamb’s decision to concentrate on chairing the Science & Technology Select Committee, we don’t appear to have a Health & Social Care spokesperson in the House of Commons – this would seem a highly unfortunate oversight!

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Feb '19 - 10:21pm

    @lynne So sorry to hear you have been ill but glad you are on the mend. It hadn’t got on my radar that you had stepped down – possibly happened when I was on hols. Sorry.

    Great to see your articles on LGBT History Month and FGM this week.

  • David Becket 7th Feb '19 - 10:38pm

    If we are going to come over as a serious consistent party we cannot afford spokespersons doing their own thing. Members of the Lords and Commons, working in a close disciplined community are less likely to invent comments. They also have the backing of a press office Experienced leaders outside parliament like Gerard Vernon Jackson and Dave Hodgson are too busy running local authorities to take on these roles. This is a fresh idea, but could well cause problems. The answer is to get more MPs (and Councillors) elected.
    I served twenty years as a local councillor, including some responsible positions. I only succeeded because I had a team round me, where group decisions were made. I acted as spokesperson for my council and party in the areas I worked in, but I had the backing of the group. It will not work any other way.

  • Katharine Pindar 7th Feb '19 - 11:34pm

    Does Work and Pensions include social security? Exploration through articles on this site has shown that the Department for Work and Pensions is a department which appears to convey hurt and harm to benefit claimants, particularly the most disadvantaged such as the disabled and the children of single parents. It has been suggested in comments here that there should be separate departments for work and for social security, in view of the DWP’s harmful emphasis that getting paid work is the only acceptable route out of poverty. I hope our spokesperson therefore will look at this department with critical eyes, and be prepared to consider its break-up, which I trust may be further considered by our party. See the article on Alleviating poverty in our country, published here on January 29, which describes how an insider believes the DWP should actually be abolished.

  • Katharine Pindar 8th Feb '19 - 12:27am

    Sorry, that date should be January 27 not 29. The reference is This issue, and our own policies which hopefully will soon develop further, really ought to be debated at York in the first instance.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Feb '19 - 1:59am

    Echo those who offer get well message, to the terrific Baroness Featherstone, keen to see her back in future, my advice, keep away from it till then, as with Norman, who I told online, I wanted to be leader for all these years, but not since his stroke, now want him merely alive and well, as with us all!

    As usual, Christine Jardine a good strong choice for a role, we need it, as our stalwart Katharine reminds us, this governmental obsession with the stale agenda it has on work and its relationship , indeed, effect, too, with regard to our humanity, or lack of, is in need of the lack of coalition luggage, our knew spokeswoman brings.

  • marcstevens 8th Feb '19 - 4:16pm

    Do you think a post can go up on the latest council by election results from yesterday? A good Lib Dem hold and a gain from Labour as well as encouraging vote share increases in almost all the other seats contested is worthy of publicity.

  • Neil Sandison 10th Feb '19 - 10:45pm

    Some good selections in the “new team ” but i think what we see is the need for that team to have good under studies coming up through the ranks .By 2020 we will need to start to put some and not so well known fresh faces in the public eye ready for the next scheduled general election.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Feb '19 - 10:20am

    Do we have two people covering Northern Ireland?
    Plus, of course, it is a key issue on Brexit for the Leader and for Tom Brake.

  • Richard Underhill 11th Feb '19 - 10:23am
  • Richard Underhill 12th Feb '19 - 11:01am

    Katharine Pindar 7th Feb ’19 – 11:34pm
    and people on zero hours contracts do not get the rate for the job, about 25% less.

  • Richard Underhill 12th Feb ’19 – 11:01am………….and people on zero hours contracts do not get the rate for the job, about 25% less……………….

    Rate for the job? How many ‘low paid actually do? IMO any job that requires taxpayer’s money, food banks, etc., as a ‘top up’ to pay for basic essentials is not paying the correct rate.

    However, to tackle that would require a national rethink of what ‘Full Employment actually means. a

  • Richard Underhill 13th Feb '19 - 12:38pm

    By “rate for the job” I was quoting a report which said that people on zero hours contracts do not (presumably on average) get the same hourly rate as full time staff doing the same job.

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