Labour will no doubt make play with the Browne comments at some point after Christmas. They have always been keen to attack the Tories' European alliances, even if the dynamite has never quite set light. That a Foreign Office minister is making these points, it will be claimed, is proof that the Tories are a "regressive" force, time for a "new generation", etc. etc.
But you can still file these revelations in the folder marked Embarrassing, rather than Damaging. It is not one jot surprising that Lib Dem ministers differ with their Tory colleagues over Europe and immigration. And, overall, Browne is regarded by Tories as a man they can sensibly do business with - not as someone who is working to undermine the LibCon partnership from within. If anything, these latest snippets might actually strengthen the coalition; shielding it from the volatile fury of the Lib Dem left, if not of the Tory right. Here we have two Lib Dem ministers unguardedly setting out what their party is achieving in government on Europe and on schools. Locked in the boot? Perhaps not.