Exciting news today as Nick Clegg’s decision to appoint Simon Hughes MP as Justice Minister is revealed. Hughes has confirmed that he will stand down as Deputy Leader once his replacement has been selected.
It’s generally accepted that the Deputy Leader should be outside of the Government, so not a Minister, Whip or PPS. It is also likely that the Deputy Leader will be seen to be from a different ideological tradition to the Leader, Nick Clegg. This suggests that Hughes’ replacement will also be a ‘lefty liberal’. Although, as only incumbent Lib Dem MPs can vote for Deputy Leader, well, who knows what may happen.
For now though, let’s assume that no MPs will resign from the government to stand, no MPs will remain in the government and stand, and no MPs that have already announced their decision to retire in 2015 will stand. Who does that leave?
Jeremy Browne: Initially he sounds an unlikely candidate, well to the Right of the party, not exactly popular with the membership (though not particularly unpopular either) and a close colleague of Clegg’s, Browne has recently found himself on the backbenches, a reshuffle victim. Maybe he will consider raising his profile with a run for Deputy Leader?
Mike Crockart: Not a particularly high profile Lib Dem, he was first elected in 2010 and was briefly PPS to Michael Moore, then Scottish Secretary, but resigned in order to vote against Tuition Fees. That could be the social liberal credential that clinches him the vote and besides, raising his profile as a lefty liberal might help him secure his delicate Edinburgh majority.
Tim Farron: Would Tim resign the Presidency to run for Deputy Leader, or even try to do both roles at the same time? I can’t really see that happening.
Andrew George: Perennial Lib Dem rebel George might be interested in the position but I’d be surprised if he had the support among the Lib Dem parliamentary party.
Mike Hancock: The embattled Portsmouth MP probably has the ego for the job but, remaining in the midst of scandal, will probably think better.
Nick Harvey: An interesting candidate, the Devon MP is fairly well liked among the membership and the parliamentary party and his sacking from the Ministry of Defence is viewed pretty universally as very bad for the Lib Dems. He’s not particularly seen as a social liberal, though.
John Hemming: Another MP likely to think twice due to personal circumstances.
Martin Horwood: He certainly has the ambition though Horwood would likely suffer from his low profile.
Julian Huppert: A likely winner should he throw his hat into the ring, Huppert is well regarded by most Lib Dems and I think many are surprised that he has yet to have earned a Ministerial brief. With the next election looming and a proper reshuffle seeming unlikely, Huppert may see the opportunity for a different role.
Mike Thornton: He could certainly do it, having become a symbol for Liberal resistance to the Tea Party Conservatives and UKIP. Is he just a bit too much of a HoC newbie, though?
Charles Kennedy: Would he want it? If he still harbours ambitions of a return to frontline politics, he would certainly be tempted, though it really would be a big surprise if he decided to stand.
John Leech: The fun-loving Manchester MP would be a serious contender if he decided to go for the Deputy Leadership, though he has yet to distinguish himself.
Stephen Lloyd: The Eastbourne MP is fairly well liked and could lend a certain amount of Parliamentary clout to the role.
Michael Moore: The ex Scottish Secretary is another popular MP, seen as doing great work for the No campaign in Scotland. He is a close colleague of Nick Clegg, though, and may be seen as being too close to him politically to represent a diverse candidate.
Greg Mulholland: Another perennial Lib Dem rebel, Mulholland would be a viable candidate but I’m not sure such an official party role would appeal to him.
Other possible contenders include:
Notably, I can’t think of a single likely female candidate, which isn’t great news for our party.
There’s a tv advertising campaign going ahead from the Home Office regarding abuse in relationships. This one features actors from Hollyoaks.
It’s always good to see this issue being taken seriously and we can all hope that the advert will make people think twice about how they act in relationships. It’s particularly exciting to see emotional abuse being given a higher profile.
But I do have a couple of issues with the ad. In fact, all these sorts of ads. They’re always very homogenised, demonstrating white heterosexual couples in otherwise ordinary relationships. That’s not what the world looks like and it sends a dangerous message that abuse is something that men do to women. Abuse and in particular, emotional abuse, is seen all too often from all genders and to all genders. A child could see the advert and think that bullying is either something that only men do to women, or that it’s only a problem when men do it to women. And I’m not jumping to conclusions just because of one ad, how about this one or this one or this one? They’re all good, important ways to remind people, particularly impressionable young people, that mistreatment of other people, emotionally or physically, is never acceptable. But let’s see a touch more diversity, to remind us that nobody should put up with abuse, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Let’s see an ad showing that abuse isn’t just a boyfriend/girlfriend thing, it can happen in any kind of human relationship and it’s never ok.
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