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Coffee House

Will Huhne survive this?

20 January 2012

12:28 PM

20 January 2012

12:28 PM

What odds, this morning, on Chris Huhne retaining his ‘Survivor of the Year’ crown at this year’s Spectator Parliamentarian
Awards? I only ask because The Sunday Times has dropped its challenge to hang on to its emails with his former wife, Vicky Pryce, about
those speeding points. They’ll now be handed over to the police, and shuffled into their evidence folders for this case.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman has said that Cameron still ‘has confidence’ in Huhne — but all this does at least raise the prospect of a reshuffle. If the Energy Secretary is
found guilty, and had to depart his ministership, then he’s likely to be replaced by another Lib Dem. The Evening Standard mentioned Ed Davey, Jeremy Browne and David Laws earlier this week.


Of those, Laws is the most intriguing name. He’s been keeping up his profile in recent months — most recently with an article for the Mail that set out a few reasons for
optimism in the gloom — and there are certainly people in the coalition, Tories and Lib Dems, who are eager to see him return. They reckon he’s done his penance for those expenses sins by
now.

But would Laws be a help or a hindrance for Nick Clegg as he looks to remould the Lib Dems this year? Deposing Huhne, and promoting Laws, would certainly shift the political balance of the Cabinet
in Clegg’s favour. But it could also aggravate those Lib Dem left-wingers who think that, politically speaking, their leader is too blue-blooded already.

In any case, Laws’s appearance at a think-tank event on Monday is going to raise a bit
more interest now. He’s appearing alongside Liam Byrne too — the man who left him that infamous note.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


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