DCSIMG

Five Liberal Democrats set to be in Cameron's all-inclusive Cabinet

DAVID Cameron looks set to name five Liberal Democrats in his Cabinet as part of the coalition deal.

Tory insiders were suggesting that while this was not a pro rata arrangement, with the Lib Dems getting more places than their 57 seats would entitle them to, Mr Cameron wanted to position them as a human shield for difficult decisions to come.

It was also felt that by giving them these posts it would be more difficult for the Liberal Democrats to walk away, even though the party had wanted six seats at the Cabinet table.

Among those in the Cabinet will be Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, who will become Deputy Prime Minister. There was strong speculation that the new Home Secretary would be Chris Huhne, leader of the Lib Dems' left-wing and a former contender for Mr Clegg's job. He was likely to be supported by David Davis from the right wing of the Conservatives as Justice Secretary.

Meanwhile, one of Mr Cameron's leading supporters, Michael Gove, was likely to lose his education portfolio to David Laws from the Lib Dem right.

One of the easiest jobs to fill was Scottish Secretary, which will almost certainly go to Lib Dem Danny Alexander, Mr Clegg's chief of staff. David Mundell, Scotland's only Tory MP, said he was relaxed at serving under a Lib Dem.

George Osborne has been confirmed as the Chancellor, after strong speculation that he could be replaced for a poor performance during the election campaign. The Lib Dems were known to prefer Ken Clarke; however, he will remain as Business Secretary while Mr Osborne will be the new resident of Number 11.

He will be supported by Vince Cable, who will almost certainly become chief secretary to the Treasury.

Tory Andrew Lansley was reported to be the new Health Secretary – also keeping his shadow brief.

One position the Lib Dems had wanted was foreign secretary, but this was unpalatable for the Tories because of the Lib Dems' pro-EU stance. William Hague is set to get the job.

Meanwhile, there was speculation that former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith was to be offered a role involving welfare and family legislation to start tackling Britain's "broken society". This appointment would also help calm down angry right-wingers in the Conservative Party.

It also seemed that right wing Conservative Liam Fox would be defence secretary.

One other deal is that Lib Dem Sir Menzies Campbell is likely to be installed as Speaker, with both Tory and Lib Dem MPs disliking the current incumbent, John Bercow.

One of the Lib Dem demands from the start, as revealed in The Scotsman, was for the party to have six Cabinet members. Briefing notes by Mr Clegg revealed that he wanted Lib Dem ministers in all departments and at every level.

One issue that is likely to lead to criticism is the lack of women in Cameron's Cabinet. Most of the Lib Dems put forward are men and it seems that Tory frontbenchers Theresa Villiers and Theresa May could lose out.

OTHERS

Environment Secretary - Nick Herbert (C)

Speaker - Sir Menzies Campbell (LD)

Cabinet Office/ Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster - Francis Maude (C)

Transport - Danny Alexander (LD) or Philip Hammond (C) or Theresa May (C) or Theresa Villiers (C)

Northern Ireland Secretary - Owen Paterson (C)

Welsh Secretary - Cheryl Gillan (C)

Leader of the House - George Young (C)

Leader of the House of Lords - Lord Strathclyde (C) or Paddy Ashdown (LD)

Chief Whip - Patrick McLoughlin (C)

Deputy Chief Whip - Andrew Stunnell (LD)

International Development - Andrew Mitchell (C)

Local government - David Willets (C) or Caroline Spielman (C)

Energy Secretary - Greg Clark (C)

Conservative chairman - Eric Pickles

Prime Minister - David Cameron (C)

Deputy Prime Minister - Nick Clegg (LD)

Foreign Secretary - William Hague (C)

Chancellor - George Osborne (C)

Business Secretary - Ken Clarke (C)

Home Secretary - Chris Huhne (LD)

Defence Secretary - Liam Fox (C)

Justice Secretary - David Davis (C)

Scottish Secretary - Alistair Carmichael or Danny Alexander (both LD)

Chief Secretary to the Treasury - Vince Cable (LD)

Culture Secretary - Danny Alexander (LD) or Jeremy Hunt (C)

Lord Chancellor - Paddy Ashdown (LD)

Social Justice (including welfare and communities) - Iain Duncan Smith (C)

Education - David Laws (LD)

Health - Andrew Lansley (C)

Key policies and where they stand

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM: The Lib Dems wanted a referendum on proportional representation and an immediate bill on introducing the alternative vote system (AV).

Meanwhile, other reforms agreed include the right of recall for voters who wish to get rid of their MPs, and a reduction in the number of MPs.

FOREIGN POLICY AND DEFENCE: This is going to be a difficult area because of the parties' widely differing views on the European Union, but on some issues they will agree to differ while agreeing that any further change to the EU relationship with Britain will require a referendum. On defence, the Lib Dems have dropped their demands that Trident is scrapped. But both parties will push forward with a strategic defence review of everything else which they largely agreed on before the election. The international aid budget will be protected as well.

DEFICIT REDUCTION AND TAXATION: The parties agreed that this had to be the main priority and it looks like the Tories will get their emergency Budget through in 50 days' time. This means they will both take the flak for severe cuts. Where these cuts will fall is still open to speculation, but it will not be Trident, health or international development.

The Tories have dropped proposals on reducing inheritance tax and recognising marriage with tax breaks.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems have agreed to support scrapping the increase on national insurance. The two parties will also work together to make the tax system fairer for the poorest.

EDUCATION, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES: The two parties have agreed to go ahead with a pupil premium which will be targeted at supporting the poorest children – a Lib Dem priority. This will see the child tax credits removed from wealthier families, something both parties already agreed on. The Lib Dems will also support some of the reforms that David Cameron wants to introduce on Britain's "broken society".

ENVIRONMENT: The parties already agreed to work towards a low carbon economy and this means that the Lib Dems have had to drop their opposition to nuclear power stations, although the Tories may now look to rely on them less and put more investment into renewable energy sources and carbon capture.

HOME AFFAIRS: Both parties are agreed that the surveillance state has grown too much under Labour. Both parties want to scrap ID cards, and it is likely a partnership of Chris Huhne and David Davis will work on tackling other intrusive measures, such as the growth in CCTV cameras, and repeal some of Labour's terror laws. The Lib Dems will drop their call for an amnesty for illegal immigrants and a regional system for employment, while the Tories will work with the Lib Dems to modify a points-based system for immigration.

 
 
 

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