David Cameron is expected to shake-up his cabinet on Tuesday, but these changes will be restricted to only Tory MP’s. The six Lib Dem cabinet ministers (including Clegg), will have to wait till after their party conference in October before any alterations are made.
The move is one of many steps taken by Clegg in recent months to distance himself from his coalition partner. With the general election less than 10 months away, it is essential that Clegg and the Lib Dems form their own party image away from Conservatives and the measures are being branded ‘conscious uncoupling’ as Clegg does all he can to avoid the inevitable election disaster by separating his party from all things Tory.
The Lib Dems have been seen as the silent partners all throughout their time in power, something Clegg will be desperate to change. Will delaying a cabinet reshuffle address this issue? It’s highly unlikely, but nonetheless it is good to see Clegg doing something different and looking to move out of the shadows of David Cameron.
A reshuffle is well overdue for the Lib Dems and many of Clegg’s advisors and allies have been urging him to sack Business Secretary Vince Cable. After a series of outspoken statements and apparently a failed coup – something that Cable strenuously denies - Clegg’s allies want Cable to be removed from a senior party position before the general election.
Clegg has however confirmed that Vince Cable will remain as Business Secretary until 2015 and Danny Alexander will continue on as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
There will however be a slight change in the roles of these two men, with Alexander likely to be confirmed as the party's chief economic spokesman for the election, a position which is currently held by Cable.
With Clegg, Cable and Alexander all more or less keeping their positions, this only leaves three others for Clegg to play around with. Ed Davey the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, David Laws the Minister for Schools and the Cabinet office and Alistair Carmichael the Secretary of State for Scotland.
Interestingly, with the Scottish referendum on the 18th of September, by delaying the reshuffle, Clegg has the opportunity to change his Scottish Secretary, depending upon the result. Jo Swinson is currently tipped to take the position and if she does so, will become the youngest female cabinet minister in history. There were talks of her taking the position immediately, but any changes now could be detrimental to the result of the referendum.
Fresh faces on the Lib Dem front bench may make a slight difference come May 2015, but it seems unlikely that Clegg will be making any drastic changes.