Jovial Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael addressed lobby journalists over lunch today. Speaking from his experience as the party’s former chief whip, he managed to praise the discipline of his party in the Coalition. But he also recalled a rather tense episode with Chris Huhne refusing to return to the UK to vote:
‘One thing which I was thinking about recently was that Chris Huhne, in the interests of tackling climate change, had managed to be at some big summit in Cancun, so was not available to take part in the division on the day and it was one of the features of Chris’s political operation that when the really difficult days would arrive, somehow or other he always seemed to be somewhere else.
‘And we were on the telephone as it seemed to be getting closer, it was getting more and more tense, both because of my concern that the vote and also the wider politics of how this might play out, I was determined that he was coming back. And he resisted, and I insisted, and he resisted, and I insisted and so it went on until eventually Nick and I agreed that actually we would just allow him to stay in Cancun. And it did actually prompt one of the Liberal Democrat whips’ team at the time to come out with the observation that Chris Huhne was the man who had put the ‘T’ into Cancun.’
Huhne is clearly sorely missed by his party…