The Lib Dems have announced their 22 strong 'spokesperson team' — or what other parties would call its frontbench. During the leadership election, Tim Farron said the party wouldn't ‘bother shadowing every single department,’ describing it as ‘a waste of time and resources’. Yet the party has managed to cobble together a long list of spokesman, despite its limited presence in the Commons:
Out of the party’s eight MPs, only two have not been given roles. One is Mark Williams, the MP for Ceredigion since 2005. A Lib Dem spokesman said he was ‘not aware’ that Williams had been offered a position but noted that details of campaign teams are still to be announced and Williams take up a campaigning role.
The other notable MP missing is the former leader Nick Clegg. In a press release, the party noted ‘Nick Clegg was offered a post in Tim’s spokesperson team, but decided after some consideration that he wanted to take a quieter role on the back benches and would not be taking a spokesperson position at this time.’
Interestingly, Farron's opponent in the leadership contest appears to have been bumped down. Norman Lamb was appointed the party's economic spokesman on May 8 — a position that has now gone to Baroness Susan Kramer. Lamb is now the Lib Dem's health spokesman, a role that could be seen as a demotion, or possibly a choice by Lamb. While serving as care minister in the coalition government Lamb was a passionate advocate of mental health issues, so he may have felt more comfortable representing this brief instead of the more prominent economy role.