David Laws’s return to government looks imminent. In tomorrow’s NS, Kevin Maguire reveals that the former chief secretary to the Treasury is “turning down most invitations for events from mid-March onwards”.
The Lib Dem Orange Booker recently returned to the fray with a series of op-ed pieces defending the government’s economic policy. So long as he escapes serious censure from the standards inquiry, Laws is likely to be handed a ministerial-level post, though a return to cabinet is unlikely.
David Cameron has made no secret of his desire to bring the Tories’ favourite Lib Dem back into government. Asked in November if he wanted Laws to return, he simply replied: “Yes, and soon.”
One persuasive theory is that Laws will return in a reshuffle of Ken Clarke’s Justice team. Cameron is dissatisfied with the department’s performance and is troubled by the tabloid attacks on the coalition over crime. Laws, who impressed Conservatives with his articulate defence of the government’s austerity measures, could be the man to steady the ship.