Martin Vander Weyer

Is Vadera about to resign?

Is Vadera about to resign?
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If, as the Westminster rumour mill suggests, business minister Baroness Shriti Vadera is about to resign from the Government, it is a far greater blow to the beleaguered prime minister than the loss of a PPS no one's ever heard of over the Baroness Scotland affair, the potential loss of Lady Scotland herself, or even the refusal of Barack Obama to grant him a private audience ahead of the G20 summit. Vadera has been one of Brown's most loyal sidekicks for more than a decade, and unlike anyone else who fits that description, she is the very opposite of a spin doctor or political hack.

A City financier by background, known (and in some quarters loathed) for her ferocity at the negotiating table and in Whitehall meetings, she has never had any feel for the cut and thrust of politics, or any clue how to handle the media. But she is one of the few genuinely competent people in Brown's inner circle, and her thumbprint has been on every major act of his chancellorship and premiership from the renationalisation of Railtrack to the rescue of RBS and HBOS. One recent rumour said she was being lined up to become an EU commissioner, but if she's really jumping ship ­ whether for high-flying role in the G20, or for something in the City ­ Brown will surely be bereft.

I've known Shriti for fifteen years, and I see The Guardian bills me as her 'former speechwriter'. Actually, I only ever inserted one joke into a speech for her, and nobody laughed. But I know the less ferocious, more vulnerable side of her, and at this stage in the slow, painful death of the Brown

government, I'd certainly advise her to get out.