A close friend and ally of would-be Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has resigned from the Liberal Democrats after he was accused of getting involved with a coup to remove the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Lord Oakeshott had commissioned a poll that showed Clegg would lose his Sheffield Hallam seat and leaked it to the press, as reported by Breitbart London.
The peer has always made it clear that he wanted Cable to succeed Clegg when he stands down, but appears to have acted to speed this process up. His move against Clegg badly backfired when Cable temporarily stopped engagements in China to denounce his friend’s actions. This morning, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg began an investigation, claiming that some Lib Dems were out campaigning others were plotting.
Although Oakeshott’s plans were weak and poorly executed they did come at a moment after the local and European elections when Clegg was looking very vulnerable. He had suffered major losses at the local elections and all but one of his MEPs had lost their seats.
The blame for this meltdown fell squarely with Nick Clegg because he had taken on Nigel Farage in the Europe debates and lost badly. He had also made a series of pre-election pledges that were remarkably unrealistic and left-wing, many of which he had to U-turn on when he entered the coalition. One such example was his commitment to abolish Tuition Fees at University, however after the election he was forced to raise them to as much as £9,000 due to a funding crisis Labour had left.
Cable is well known for having his eyes on the leadership but it is unclear how much he encouraged Oakeshott’s actions. He is known to be far more left-wing than Nick Clegg, he is famed for his regular economic predictions and for crowing when some of them come true. This has led to the joke that Cable has successfully predicted fifteen of the last two recessions.
Oakeshott cannot resign from the House of Lords as appointments are for life, he can however take a leave of absence.