I'm surprised that very few people seem to have speculated on the makeup of a Tory-LibDem Cabinet yet. Well, let me step into the breach. First off, it remain unclear how many Cabinet seats David Cameron would offer the LibDems. I was told this morning that Cameron had offered the LibDems Home Secretary, Chief Secretary and Transport. An hour later, that was reported on the BBC by the estimable Laura Kuenssberg. The Sunday Telegraph's Patrick Hennessy tried to get confirmation from the LibDems, who weren't denying it. However, half an hour later Ms K appeared on our screens again to say that the Conservatives were officially denying it. Hmmm.
If I were a LibDem negotiator I'd probably be pushing for four seats around the Cabinet table on the basis of the seats they have in the Commons. There was some talk that the LibDems would argue that seats in the Cabinet should reflect the proportion of the actual national vote. On that basis the LibDems would say they wanted 8 seats. Fat chance. So let's work on the basis that they get 4 seats.
The next question is the position of Nick Clegg himself. When Paddy Ashdown was negotiating with Blair he made clear he didn't want a Cabinet position himself. Perhaps Clegg would take the same viewpoint. On the other hand, perhaps he would become Deputy Prime Minister without an actual department.
Assuming there are three other Cabinet positions available, who would take them, and would they be chosen by Nick Clegg on his own or in consultation with David Cameron?
There would no doubt be a public clamour for Vince Cable to be Chancellor, but I think it is safe to rule that out. There is just no way that he would be acceptable in that role to the Conservatives. Perhaps the same might be said of George Osborne to the LibDems, in which case I could just about foresee Ken Clarke being Chancellor with Vince Cable as Chief Secretary. They would rapidly become the Waldorf and Stadler of British politics, but they would be a very reasduring team to the British public in difficult economic times.
But I think that outcome is very unlikely to happen. A far more likely scenario is for David Laws to take on the Chief Secretary portfolio.
Other LibDem candidates for office might be Paddy Ashdown for Northern Ireland and Chris Huhne, but when you scan the list of the 57 LibDem MPs, you have to come to the conclusion that there aren't many other candidates for Cabinet posts. Sarah Teather? Ming Campbell would no doubt love to get the Foreign Office but I can see no way that Cameron would jettison William Hague from that post. Ed Davey would no doubt expect to be considered but even his colleagues in the LibDems don't rate him. Can anyone really imagine Simon Hughes in a Conservative dominated Cabinet? Not sure I can. Jo Swinson, Lynne Featherstone, Norman Lamb? All three are talented but I somehow can't see them in a Cabinet.
I'd love to hear from LibDem readers who they think should be their Cabinet nominees if it comes to it.