But the Laws didn’t win. Promising to return the £40,000 in expenses he paid his lover wasn’t enough to save the Treasury Chief Sec; George Osborne, amazingly, says that:
It was as if he had been put on earth
to be Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Do I detect a note of horror at the thought of having to run the show himself?
We’ve pointed out the centrality of his role in the coalition before. Interestingly, he’s being replaced by the Lib-Dem party chief of staff and Scottish secretary, Danny Alexander. A lot of people thought Laws was almost a Tory - a libertarian rather than a liberal, so this is arguably an event that pulls the coalition leftwards. Alexander’s specialisation is social security, as his TWFY record shows clearly.
There’s also an argument that the banker Laws would have been better equipped to deal with the Treasury officials (and the chancellor) than Alexander - but seeing as the mandarins succeeded in making sure the £6bn cut got passed down to the nondepartmental, and therefore second-division, bits of government, this isn’t at all clear.
Update: Iain Duncan Smith has been on the BBC suggesting that Laws might one day return to government. Is he flagging that he might cross the floor?