It’s no surprise that the Lib Dems aren’t keen on Adrian Beecroft’s proposals for hiring and firing. This intra-coalition disagreement has been rumbling on for months now, after all. But when Vince Cable spoke out against them yesterday, it wasn’t entirely clear whether this was his party’s line or just Vince being Vince. Other Lib Dems might have taken a more conciliatory approach.
Today, however, it’s clear that they’re not going to. Nick Clegg himself has charged in behind Cable, saying that ‘I don't support [Beecroft’s plan for “no-fault dimissals”] and I never have, for the simple reason that I have not seen any evidence yet that creating industrial scale insecurity amongst millions of workers is a way of securing new jobs.’ Admittedly, he did take leaven this attack by adding that, ‘If someone shows the evidence… then let's look at it again,’ but the general tone was unmistakeable. An anonymous Lib Dem MP summed it up by describing Beecroft’s work as ‘frankly s**t’ to Total Politics’ Amber Elliott.
So it looks as though no-fault dismissals can be shoved in the folder marked ‘Casualties of coalition’ — particularly after David Cameron appeared to back off from the idea (£) yesterday. There are two questions now, in particular. First, whether the policy will resurface in the Tory manifesto. And, second, whether the Tories will be able to find a compromise that sits well with the Lib Dems in the meantime.