What the three departing Lib Dem ministers have said as they leave government

by Stephen Tall on September 4, 2012

You can catch up on the rolling LibDemVoice live-blog of today’s reshuffle here and the current list of official Lib Dem appointments here.

Three Lib Dem ministers are at the time of writing departing the Coalition Government for the backbenches. Each of them has issued statements as follows:

Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central:

It has been a huge privilege to serve as an education minister in the coalition government over the last two and a half years. I’m hugely proud of the part I have been able to play in ending child detention, and rolling out the pupil premium, giving free nursery places to disadvantaged two year olds, amongst many other achievements. Particularly close to my heart has been the work to reform the system of support for children and families with special educational needs and disability. It is a cause I have championed partly as a result of my own experience of illness and disability as a teenager. I would have dearly liked to be able to carry that work through to completion. I now hand that task over to others in Government to finish.

“I am certain David will be an outstanding education Minister. We have been friends for many years and I am delighted for him that he has been given one of the best and most rewarding roles in Government. I shall support him and the Government now from the backbenches. My number one priority will continue to be representing my constituents, which has always been my first love, and I’m also looking forward to having a little more time for myself. “

Paul Burstow, Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton, Cheam & Worcester Park:

I am sad to be leaving the Government. Ever since I took on my dream job as Care Services Minister I have had the opportunity to make a difference in a policy area I care deeply about. Having dedicated most of my political career to improving the health and care of others it has been an absolute privilege to be directly involved in framing a new social care law and working closely with colleagues in the sector to set out a reform agenda in the Care and Support White Paper.

In the last two years or so I have been able to introduce policies that will improve the mental health of adults and children, the care of older people and the diagnosis of dementia. I am confident my successor will now take on the challenge to ensure these reforms improve the lives of people in receipt of care up and down the country.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to those professionals across the care sector who dedicate their lives to caring for others. I’d also like to assure these people, and others, that I remain committed to reforming the social care system in the long-term.

Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon

It has been a pleasure to have served as a defence minister and an honour to have worked with our armed forces, whose courage, dedication and professionalism inspire all who come into contact with them. This has been a challenging period and we have had to make very tough and sometimes unpalatable decisions about reductions in our defences, at the same time as sustaining the operation in Afghanistan and other security tasks like the recent effort supporting the Olympics.

“Nick Clegg made it clear that the decision was not a reflection on my performance in the job, which he said was widely regarded as having been excellent, but rather a strategic political decision to ‘trade’ this post for one in another government department. My replacement at Defence will therefore be a Conservative. I will continue to support the coalition government, and my Liberal Democrat colleagues working so hard as part of it, from the slightly freer and less regimented world of the backbenches. And I look forward to having more time with my family – and for my constituency work in North Devon, which I have been proud to represent in Parliament for twenty years.”

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.