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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Clegg goes it alone

As rumours grow of a major government reshuffle next week, the Independent reports that Nick Clegg is opting out and will be deferring any changes he wants to make until just before the Liberal Democrats Conference in October.

The paper says that this leaves Nick Clegg with the option to move Alistair Carmichael as Scottish Secretary after the independence referendum on 18 SeptemberL

Speculation had been that Mr Carmichael, who was brought in as a more combative figure for the Better Together campaign, would be axed this week in favour of Jo Swinson. Yet this would have been seized on by Alex Salmond and his supporters as an admission of failure.

Other possible ministers who could be moved in the autumn are Ed Davey, the Climate Change Secretary. Mr Clegg is being urged by some allies to sack Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was weakened by the botched coup in May, and Mr Davey could be lined up to replace him.

The paper adds that the decision to go it alone is part of a concerted effort by Lib Dems for a "conscious uncoupling" from their Conservative Coalition partners:

Mr Clegg is under pressure to leave Mr Cameron's side during Prime Minister's Questions and get out campaigning instead. The Lib Dem blogger Stephen Tall said: "Focus groups show the public is baffled why Nick Clegg simply sits next to David Cameron without ever speaking at Prime Minister's Questions. To them, he appears mute, powerless, sidelined. The time could be much better used."

And so say all of us.
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