Friday, 3 February 2012

Not too fast, Mr Huhne.

For many observers, Chris Huhne’s Cabinet exit has been bizarrely slow.
The most predicted Cabinet resignation since Clare Short flounced out in 2003 finally occurred today.  The LibDem MP for Eastleigh succumbed to months of pressure over an alleged offence for which he has now been charged.  The ex-DECC Secretary of State faces a Watergate-like charge relating to an alleged cover-up of a possible motoring offence.
At the point of charge, his exit was politically inevitable.  Yet Mr Huhne has been skating on the thin ice of a Cabinet departure for months.  Almost since the Coalition Government took office, Mr Huhne’s fingerprints have been detected on Cabinet leaks, anti-Conservative briefings and other political mischief-making.
From his over-the-top "Goebbels" jibes about the AV referendum to the immigration "cat flap", the former Minister seemed to take little notice of the doctrine of Cabinet collective responsibility.  His reputation for negative briefing even saw journalists making automatic assumptions – wrongly as it turned out – that he was behind the leaking of a letter proposing a new Royal Yacht.
If the Cabinet were populated by a single political party, Mr Huhne may have been spending more time with his family – or families – much earlier than today.  Now, regardless of the outcome of the judicial process, it seems likely that the ambitious MP’s life in the political fast lane has come to an abrupt, and terminal, conclusion.