Norman Baker resignation - Coalition withers

Norman Baker, pictured in his days as a transport minister Image copyright PA
Image caption Lib Dem Norman Baker served as a transport minister before joining the Home Office as a minister in October 2013. He has now resigned from the government after difference with the home secretary.

The coalition which first bloomed in the rose garden, withered and decayed in the Home Office.

Norman Baker says that working with the Tories was like "wading through mud" and, liberally mixing his metaphors, adds that he was treated like a cuckoo in the nest by his ministerial boss the home secretary.

The truth is he was not sent there by Nick Clegg (who gets to choose who in his own party goes to which department) to get on with Theresa May.

His job was to man mark the woman who routinely offended Liberal Democrat sensibilities on immigration, civil liberties and drugs policies and who behaved, Baker says, as if hers was a Conservative department in a Conservative government.

They fell out most spectacularly over a report on drugs policy which he says provided the evidence for a new approach based less on punishment and more on treatment but which she said did nothing of the kind.

There's no sign that Baker is the first of a series of resignations or a planned unravelling of the coalition. Nick Clegg believes that his party should prove they can stick out government until the bitter end,

His resignation will help Baker in his fight to hold on to his seat against the Tories - and it may also help enhance Theresa May's reputation in her own party as the woman who won't compromise with the hated Liberals.

Related Topics