Following my earlier story about the Tories deciding they can only rely on Lib Dems who are ministers to form a coalition majority after the election, I have learned that the rebellious backbench problem is worse than it first appears. The party has run out of MPs suitable to work as Parliamentary Private Secretaries.
For those who don’t know, PPSs are the ‘bag carriers’ of government, junior ministerial posts that largely involve an MP being forced to be loyal to their party whip at all times while briefing their minister on important matters, working as their minister’s eyes and ears in the rest of the party, and encouraging the rest of the party to be supportive of the minister when he or she is in trouble.
It can sometimes be the start of something wonderful in an MP’s career, or a job given to someone to shut them up. All Tory Cabinet Ministers and most ministers below them have a PPS. But the Lib Dems can’t find anyone to appoint as Ed Davey’s PPS after Stephen Lloyd resigned over a road, and so Davey is PPS-less.
The full list of PPSs is as follows:
Nick Clegg - Simon Wright
Danny Alexander - Lorely Burt
Vince Cable - Ian Swales
That's all, folks. The Lib Dems do have more than three ministers in government - 23, in fact - but none of them have PPSs. This shows how rebellious the party has become, and how a junior ministerial role is simply not attractive to someone trying desperately to hold on to their seat.