Monday, September 07, 2009

Alan Duncan Sacked, Demoted, Whatever

It's 10 to 1 here and I was just about to switch off the computer and go to bed and what do I suddenly get told by a reader? Alan Duncan has been demoted to Shadow Prisons Minister. I'd like to offer some pithy insight, but I am afraid it baffles me. According to the BBC...
"Alan Duncan, the senior Conservative secretly filmed complaining that MPs were expected to live on "rations", has been demoted from the shadow cabinet. He goes from being shadow leader of the Commons to shadow prisons minister. Mr Duncan, who was responsible for the Tories' position on MPs' expenses, is said to accept he is now a "lightning conductor" for anger over the issue. The Rutland and Melton MP agreed to leave the shadow cabinet after a meeting with Tory leader David Cameron. A replacement is to be announced on Tuesday."
I can't say it comes as a huge surprise, but knowing Alan, he will be gutted. He is a proud man. What I don't understand is why he has stayed in a junior position, important thought the prisons job is. Wouldn't it have been better to go completely and rebuild? And what does this mean for Edward Garnier, who has done a great job handling prisons over the last few years? He's an unsung hero of the junior spokesmen. UPDATE: He has been appointed Shadow Attorney General - long overdue IMHO.

A further question is whether this signals a wider Conservative frontbench reshuffle. Being 2,500 miles away means that I am not in a position to shed much light on that I'm afraid. I shall watch from afar with interest. But if there is to be one new face around the Shadow Cabinet table, who should it be?

One thing worth noting is that yet again David Cameron has displayed the same streak of ruthlessness we have seen before. Others should take note.

UPDATE: Alan Duncan has issued this statement...
"This is a sensible decision. You have to be realistic about how difficult the expenses issue has been.What matters most is the winning the election and David Cameron becoming the prime minister. I don't want to be a brake on that by making a difficult issue more problematic. I am very happy to get stuck into another job."

38 comments:

Simon said...

I wonder if he'll be commissioning some sort of luxury cushy prison for all the MP's who will be jailed for fraud etc. No need, I suppose as none will be prosecuted.

Tory til I die said...

Er...and this is a demotion how? Is it not possible that Cameron moved Duncan to prisons because he knew that he's a decent opposition spokesman who would be thoughtful and articulate on a serious issue?

The BBC are reporting it's a demotion. Do what I did: call the Brown Broadcasting Corporation's complaints line on 03700 100 222. They are a disgrace.

Iain Dale said...

Oh do me a favour. He was in the Shadow Cabinet. He isn't now. That is a demotion in anyone's language.

Purple Man said...

Surprised Cameron had the balls to do it.

James said...

Prison is the best place for his sort.

But seriously, maybe this is time to introduce Chloe Smith to the big league?

jailhouselawyer said...

"David Cameron has displayed the same streak of ruthlessness we have seen before".

And there was me thinking he had dithered...

Roger Thornhill said...

Yet again Buttered reacts ham-fistedly to outspoken Minister.

Or did he, in the narrow personal sense?

Alan is kept on to watch the new models land and strut, like a first wife who has to endure the spectacle of the new concubine. He is kept busy and on the leash.

"boom-ooh-yatatata"

Sue said...

A multi millionaire takes the p*ss out of the taxpayer with expenses and then says he has to live on rations and you're baffled when he gets demoted? He should be sacked!

What's the matter with you?

Anonymous said...

Bloody shame that prisons and prisoners are so lightly regarded.

The person who sorts this mess out should deserve a life peerage.

No point in having a succesful socitey if the failures are locked up out of sight.

Then there is the question who are the successes and who are the failures and who should go to prison anyway.

True Belle said...

Alan Duncan will be on 'bread and water now' and I hope he has time to reflect on his words " You have to live on rations and are treated like ----.”

So Cameron has a sense of humour- moving Duncan to shadow prisons!

Whose post has he taken over?

Carl Gardner, Head of Legal said...

It may not be bad news for Edward Garnier. In government, Dominic Grieve couldn't seriously be Attorney as well as Justice Secretary - it's probably not obvious to non-legal politicos but the Attorney's job is an important and specialist one and s/he sometimes resolves disputes between departments - I don't think it can be done part-time these days, and ministers in departments like the Home Office which often have disagreements with MoJ will surely not be happy to have the Attorney embedded in MoJ.

In which case, someone has to be moved to be Attorney. I can't think of any other obvious candidates, and if you're the kind of political lawyer who's keen to retain your interest in law rather than to escape it - and Garnier seems to fall into that category - then Attorney General is a dream job.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It's a a bad day for democracy. He is one of those politicians who does not spend too much time worrying what other people think. He does not spend a lot of time thinking about what he is going to say - and some one who does is most certainly a fraud and a liar.

Alan Duncan is someone who spoke out of turn. What a terrible indictment of our system that this means he had to go.

I don't know how brave he was to come out as gay at the Conservative conference, but I expect it did him no favours in some quarters. But he did it and I guess he did it because he wanted to be honest.

In the end, it was honesty that did for him. What a pity.

Lady Finchley said...

Where does this leave Edward Garnier? He has done such an excellent job with prisons. Shadow Attorney General?

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Jabba the Cat said...

"You have to be realistic about how difficult the expenses issue has been."

The reality of the expenses issue is that it has shown up Alan Duncan for the oily hoon that he is. It is disappointing that he has not been returned to the back benches.

Mog said...

I will bet you any money that his replacement is a WOMAN.

Not a case of best person for the job - its all about how it plays in the press.

Guthrum said...

Well he was a prat inviting the bloke who had dug up his lawn for tea and biscuits- not very savvy

Jabba the Cat said...

"David Cameron has displayed the same streak of ruthlessness we have seen before."

Wtf? You are surely jesting? Since when does wielding a sharpened carrot count as ruthless?

If this is the kind of "ruthlessness" we can expect after the election in dealing with eg. the public sector, then we are well and truly doomed as a country.

Anonymous said...

'.. pour encourageur les autres..' as they say in Armenia..

Anonymous said...

"One thing worth noting is that yet again David Cameron has displayed the same streak of ruthlessness we have seen before. Others should take note."

Hmmm.. Surely Cammo is only where he is now because his career has been fuelled by the bonfire of expendable careers from elsewhere in the party.

He has a way to go to catch up with Lord Mandy in the Macchiavelli stakes, but this may forecast stormy times ahead for the dead weight on the front-bench.

Look for many more statements of support and undying loyalty from his cabinet team.

Johnny Norfolk said...

DC has done the right thing. Duncan comes over to the public as a right pratt. Prison is the best place for him.

ChrisD said...

Iain, The Coffee House Blog pointed out that if he had stayed in his current position, he would have had to give the speech on expenses at Conference.
Wise move for both him and Cameron methinks, and at a time when the media have lots of other stories to cover instead.

UKIP has announced another high profile resignation tonight, its treasurer is stepping down from the job.

BenS said...

Excellent. Kind of proves that Mr Duncan isn't the libertarian he claims to be, but merely a puppet for the party political system.

Glad to see petty tribalism is still alive and well.

Anonymous said...

Edward Garnier has been appointed Shadow Attorney General.

tapestry said...

John Heyes

Weygand said...

Taken at face value, Duncan's acceptance of his demotion gives hope that he has more substance than his repeated egotistical eccenticities have suggested.

No doubt he believes, as is likely to be true, that if he proves his reliability he will soon be rehabilitated.

But let him be in no doubt that the last thing the Conservatives need is some over-dressed, rich as Croesus, Tory-boy parody addressing recession voters as to how such brilliant figures as himself will give up serving the country for piss-poor wages. The natural reaction of too many will be to save him and other candidates of his party the trouble of doing so.

Clever move by DC to have delayed this until the recess.

Armchair said...

ConservativeHome run a poll finding that 80-odd % of members don't rate Duncan's performance.

A few weeks later

Ta Ta

The Fact Compiler said...

Macmillan roll over.

JuliaM said...

"David Cameron has displayed the same streak of ruthlessness we have seen before".

Yes, he really reacted quickly and harshly, didn't he?

Remind me again, exactly how many weeks ago did Duncan open his mouth?

True Belle said...

MPs have been denied a pay rise for far too long.

The salary should be sufficient enough for MPs from ALL WALKS of life to run a decent office.

Unsworth said...

Well a dignified statement from Duncan but, as you say, he is a proud man. Perhaps that was his undoing.

Unsworth said...

@ JuliaM

Ruthlessness does not entail speed.

Harsh? What kind of harsh did you have in mind? A public flogging?

Anonymous said...

George Young as replacement is hardly ruthless; why did it take so long to sack/demote Duncan? merely reaffirming the "heir to Blair" mantra. Where is this party going. Progressive, i think not.

Jabba the Cat said...

@ True Belle said...

"MPs have been denied a pay rise for far too long."

You obviously live in a parallel universe. The hoons work shorter hours and produce even less legislation as the bulk of which you seem to be unaware/overlook come from Brussels scribed and put into law by people we did not vote into office.

True Belle said...

Jabba -

Point taken, but what effort do bankers put in, in order to grab their bonuses ( Same applies to doctors and the whole grabbing caboodle)

MPs should have a reasonable salary, but no extras.

chris (m) said...

Alan Duncan was one of the MPs who was receiving a substantial second home allowance while simultaneously renting out another property. He had a history of spivery with the exploitation of the Right to Buy in the 1980s.

He should have been told to stand down as an MP by Cameron not demoted to lesser ministerial position. He is a disgrace.

Charles said...

Jabba

- I would pay them even more to produce even less legislation. Not the best way of measuring their productivity!

True Belle

- at the risk of being flamed, try getting up at 4.30 most mornings to catch a flight to God-knows-where to advise a client on their strategy. If bonuses were called "commission" then people would be happier - the only reason why they aren't commission is to try and encourage people to work together

Jabba the Cat said...

@ True Belle said...

"Point taken, but what effort do bankers put in, in order to grab their bonuses"

Bankers generate "profits" from which they get paid bonuses. They may do this without a lot of effort but they do actually earn their money.

MP's solely consume our money, generate hot air and in the case of the one eyed Scottish git put the country into the largest amount of debt in our fiscal history.