A Lib Dem reshuffle? If it happens, here’s who party members would like to see promoted

by Stephen Tall on October 10, 2014

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 735 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Jo & Lynne top choices for promotion to cabinet

The Lib Dems are expected to hold a ministerial reshuffle after the Scottish independence referendum. Which minister would you most like to see promoted to the cabinet?

    20% – Jo Swinson Minister, Business, Innovation & Skills
    19% – Lynne Featherstone Minister, Department for International Development
    16% – Steve Webb Minister, Department for Work and Pensions
    10% – David Laws Minister, Department for Education (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
    6% – Norman Lamb Minister, Department of Health
    4% – Simon Hughes Minister, Ministry of Justice
    4% – Baroness (Susan) Kramer Minister, Department for Transport
    4% – Norman Baker Minister, Home Office
    1% – Tom Brake Deputy Leader of the Commons
    1% – Baroness (Jenny) Randerson, Minister, Wales Office
    1% – Dan Rogerson Minister, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    1% – Lord (Jim) Wallace Lib Dem Leader, House of Lords
    1% – Don Foster Lib Dem Chief Whip, Commons
    1% – Stephen Williams Minister, Department for Communities and Local Government
    4% – None
    9% – Don’t know

David Cameron reshuffled his ministerial team in July. When Nick Clegg didn’t follow suit the assumption was that he was waiting until after the Scottish referendum in order to promote Jo Swinson (who would probably have been appointed at the last reshuffle had she not been due to go on maternity leave) to the cabinet, ensuring the Lib Dems don’t go a full parliament without appointing a woman to the top tier of government.

It was expected current Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael would make way for her. I heard at conference that this plan had fallen apart and that Alistair has no intention of moving from his post. And with none of the other four – Alexander, Cable, Clegg, Davey – likely to want to move on, Nick’s wish to promote her may come to nothing. We shall see.

Jo Swinson tops our members’ poll, though Lynne Featherstone – widely considered to have been one of the party’s most effective ministers – is only just behind. Also scoring well is Steve Webb, though his deep knowledge of his pensions post probably means he’s considered indispensable in his current role.

Huppert & Kennedy top choices for promotions to ministerial office

And which Lib Dem MP would you most like to see appointed as a minister?

    16% – Julian Huppert
    12% – Charles Kennedy
    10% – Tim Farron
    6% – Tessa Munt
    6% – Jenny Willott
    5% – Lorely Burt
    4% – Jeremy Browne
    3% – Sarah Teather
    2% – Martin Horwood
    2% – Duncan Hames
    4% – None
    5% – Don’t know

Here are the top 10 choices of Lib Dem MPs to be appointed to ministerial office. Activists’ favourite Julian Huppert tops the list, with Charles Kennedy not far behind. Tim Farron, who’ll become eligible when his term as party president expires at the end of the year, comes in third. I suspect, for their different reasons, all three might decline the offer if it were extended.

  • 1,500+ Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. 735 completed the latest survey, which was conducted between 12th and 16th September.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at www.libdemvoice.org/category/ldv-members-poll
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.