David Cameron should listen to his own advice

The BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent, Laura Kuenssberg, yesterday tweeted remarks made by David Cameron about the need for more discussion within the coalition before decisions are made. Simon Hughes’ intervention on council tenancies appears to indicate that the Prime Minister has failed to heed his own advice.

Yesterday afternoon, Laura Kuenssberg tweeted:

“The PM says coalition is a ‘proper partnership’ but there has to be more discsussions and ‘workings out’ before decisions are made”

But just a day later, Simon Hughes tells the Evening Standard’s Paul Waugh:

“The ideas put forward by David Cameron this week in no way represent the policy of the coalition and certainly do not represent the policy of the Liberal Democrats.

“We will not let anybody have their homes taken away. We must continue to suppport established and cohesive communities where people have the security of knowing that they will continue to have a home.”

What Paul Waugh reveals next is revealing:

I’m told (not by the man himself, I stress) that Mr Hughes ‘exploded’ last night when he heard of the Cameron words.

He had first got wind of the controversial proposal recently when Andrew Stunnell flagged it up in the party hierarchy. He warned ministers that the party should ‘not touch this with a bargepole’ but it seems there was confusion as to whether Nick Clegg was alerted of the concerns.

Crucially, Hughes appears to have been assured that no announcement was going to be made on the subject until after discussions within the coalition.

Although Simon Hughes had urged the government to “slow down” on cuts to housing benefit, sounded a warning shot on the VAT rise, and indicated his initial desire for a Lib-Lab coalition, Mr Hughes has – until this point – been a strong public defender of the coalition’s policies. Just two weeks ago, he wrote in the Guardian, “in 10 weeks we have achieved greater political change than I could have ever imagined.” If Cameron wants him to return to this championing role, he’ll need to consult him a bit more.

UPDATE 14.09

After Simon Hughes tells the World at One, “It is not a Liberal Democrat policy, it is not a coalition policy. It was not in the election manifesto of either party, it was not in the coalition agreement.”, Sunder Katwala observes at Next Left that:

“Downing Street wanted to make very clear indeed that that Nick Clegg bloke was obviously not speaking for the government when, erm, taking Prime Minister’s questions as deputy Prime Minister.

“Perhaps they could now tell us if the same applies to the PM.”

28 Responses to “David Cameron should listen to his own advice”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  2. gemma tumelty

    RT @leftfootfwd: With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  3. Iain Whiteley

    RT @houseoftwits: RT @leftfootfwd With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  4. Jon Chambers

    RT @leftfootfwd: With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  5. LockPickerNet

    With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa via @leftfootfwd

  6. Evidence based? Really?

    Except it wasn’t an announcement was it Will. Its funny how evidence based blogging descends into gossip.

  7. Michael Denoual

    RT @HouseofTwitsLab: RT @leftfootfwd With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  8. Alan W

    @Evidence Based – Not an announcement? So I guess it was just Cameron mouthing off then and making policy on the hoof. Bit of a stream of consciousness thing.

    The coalition seem to be making a lot of these non-annoucement announcements. Vince Cable wasn’t really announcing a graduate tax; Nick Clegg wasn’t really declaring the Iraq War illegal; and David Cameron wasn’t really saying the Pakistani government are supporting terrorism.

    A bit of forward planning before they open their mouths could save a lot of unnecessary confusion.

  9. Julian Swainson

    RT @leftfootfwd: With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  10. Sian Errington

    Defend council tenants! Cameron threatens council home secure tenancy – but Lib Dem opposition…? //tinyurl.com/2vhlx4v

  11. Mind In Flux

    RT @leftfootfwd: With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  12. Anon E Mouse

    Alan W – Absolutely agree but it is fun. Far better than the serious running of our country we had before.

    Cameron was right on Pakistan, Israel and China (previously) and it is so refreshing to just have someone actually say it and not back down.

    Cleggers is just great and gets my vote everytime.

    Where else could you do disastrously in a general election and still be Deputy Prime Minister… bet Gordon Brown cries himself to sleep every night… love it…

  13. rebjn

    @Alan W
    Maybe this will induce a culture change – where ideas are floated and discussed/debated by the media and country before they’re even considered as policy. I hate how in the current system governments aren’t able to scrap rubbish policy ideas (following parliamentary debate) without it being portrayed as a humiliating u-turn. It really risks crap ideas becoming law for the sake of saving face, or radical stuff never seeing the light of day.

  14. Tom King

    Simon Hughes 'exploded' over Cameron's ideas for social housing //bit.ly/9hiZlR

  15. Shamik Das

    See also -> RT @leftfootfwd: With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  16. Will Straw

    rebjn – This does, indeed, sound like a good way to undertake policy making in the UK. But you’d think that Cameron would clear with his own coalition partners that the idea was just a ‘starter for 10’ before mouthing off about it. Simon Hughes clearly thinks it’s policy or at least very close to policy otherwise he would have given a political answer and said, “This was only ever a suggestion and I know that Lib Dem voters will have concerns with it so I will be representing that point of view in discussions with my colleagues”. Instead he’s gone on the warpath and briefed loudly that the Prime Minister doesn’t speak for the Government!

  17. Evidence based? Really?


    Because there is no possible way that Simon Hughes might just be sounding off because he wants to improve his position and is using the media as a conduit to do so? It is clear he doesn’t disagree with many in his own party, he stating through the media is hardly indicative of anything but his ego. Think Treasury vs number 10 under Brown/Blair.

  18. Evidence based? Really?

    Should read *does disagree with many in his own party*

  19. Anon E Mouse

    Will – Which sounds good but the trouble is most people really aren’t interested in politics, preferring football, Big Brother or Jordan (or a combination of the three).

    Secondly, leaving aside the BBC, the media in our country is pretty much right wing – Labour only has the Daily Mirror supporting it and employing Kevin McGuire as a columnist prevents it from being taken seriously which would not work in your favour.

    This (again) really is a storm in a teacup and I seem to remember Labour trying to do a similar thing themselves and as for a “warpath” get a grip William. Warpath? From Simon Hughes? Please.

    As to the policy itself why should someone who is single when his or her parents die have a right to their house, which belongs to the council anyway and may be three bedroomed when they live alone?

    That’s not fair on other needy people, especially those with families who live in the area – I know your article is about the “spat” and not the actual issue but if it needs discussion let’s do it in Parliament with our elected officials please – that’s what we pay the buggers for.

    I still think it’s nice to get away from the spin doctor stage managed zombie government that went before…

    And as for Sunder Katwala’s remarks… well he would say that wouldn’t he.

  20. justine p

    @ Anon E Mouse
    “why should someone who is single when his or her parents die have a right to their house, which belongs to the council anyway and may be three bedroomed when they live alone?”
    You are wrongly informed here. Someone who is single does not automatically have a right to the council house when his or her parents die. My uncle lived in a 3 bedroomed council house with my grandparents. He has a disability. My grandfather died first and then when my grandmother died, my uncle was told he would have to be moved to a 1 bedroomed property.

  21. Anon E Mouse

    Justine P – The policy must differ around the country – a work colleague’s parents died, he lived at home and the council left him in the house – that’s South Wales btw and it was a few years ago. I may be wrong.

    (The concept is alien to me but it is possible).

    I do think though that if people choose to live in council housing exchanges would be a good idea. Another friend of mine is your old style socialist who refuses to leave council rented accommodation. Although he has good holidays he has mentioned in the past he’d like to get back to London but can’t swap houses – that’d certainly be a positive move for people like him…

  22. Politickle

    RT @leftfootfwd: With Simon Hughes on the "warpath", David Cameron should listen to his own advice //bit.ly/aLkhWa

  23. Tom Sheppard

    Is it better tht Hughes is on the side of libs to the left of gehgiz khan, or worse tht he knew nothing of the policy? //j.mp/d8Fc2X

  24. Mr. Sensible

    I’m not sure how we can end up with a government which neither the leader or deputy leader speeks for.

    Mr Mouse, can you give me your evidence to support Cameron on Israel and on Pakistan? These are countries we need to help us in the fight against terror, and so to drop those kind of clangers is not good.

  25. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – Where the government appears to differ means it isn’t stage managed by spin doctors, bullies and thugs in Downing Street like Derek Draper, Damian McBride and the like.

    You just don’t like cabinet government that isn’t run by Stalinist control freaks.

    Gaza – I watched footage of people being bombed by Israel after rockets were fired by terrorists in Gaza and whilst I fully understand the reasons for it I can also sympathise with the plight of the unfortunates who just want to get on with their lives. Why don’t you have sympathy for the poor in Gaza?

    Pakistan. If you believe that Cameron’s comments are incorrect (they most certainly are not) then you really need to open your eyes and stop opposing everything just for the sake of it.

    He made these same comments in the US, India and the UK – they were certainly not a clanger because the truth never is.

    I think it is quite refreshing to actually have someone who speaks his mind – especially on things (the majority, obviously not you) of people in this country agree with. Israel needs to sort out the Gaza situation and Pakistan needs to stop exporting terror.

    And their President needs to get back to sort out the flooding instead of launching his son’s political career in this country at the weekend.

  26. Bill Fraser

    Can anyone explain why Mr.Cameron thinks it is acceptable for a council tenant to buy “their” council house thus removing it and thousands of other from the stock of ‘social housing’, but unacceptable if the tenant want to continue renting their council house?

  27. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse, what type of ‘Cabinet Government’ is it when Cameron makes policy proposals at ‘PM Direct’ without consulting with his coalition partners? Remember, this wasn’t in either of the 2 manifestos or the coalition agreement.

    And on Pakistan, remember that their country too has had to cope with terorrist attacks, and so if Cameron continues like that there has to be a risk they could withdraw cooperation with us, which could be important.

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