Could some explanation and clarification please be forthcoming on the advisory roles accepted by Baroness Williams, Baroness Neuberger and Lord Lester?
I am very appreciative of Ed's early squashing on LibDem Voice of the Guardian story about Lords taking ministerial roles. I am also extremely appreciative of Ming's clarification of the rules of LibDems accepting advisory posts published on his web site on 28th June:
However, there is an extra element of clarification which is required urgently.
Could you please answer these questions either to me or in some forum?:
1. What specifically are the roles which Lord Lester and Lady Neuberger accepted?
2. How do those roles relate to Ming's rules for post acceptance published on June 28th? That is, can it be confirmed and explained that these roles are strictly within the criteria which Ming outlined?
3. Are there any more advisory posts to be offered? Is there a top limit of advisory posts which the LibDems would accept from the government? For example, if Brown offered 20 peers advisory posts, would all these posts be accepted? Where would we draw the line?
4. Has Baroness Williams accepted the role she was offered? If not, why is there a delay and is there a likelihood she will not accept the role?
5. In the case of the role offered to and accepted by Lord Lester, is this role sufficiently narrow and "insulated" to prevent the Liberal Democrat party being blamed for any constitutional reform botch-up which Gordon Brown produces?
With many thanks and best wishes
Paul Walter, Liberal Democrat member, Newbury, Berkshire.
I look forward to their responses.
UPDATE: This came from the BBC just as I was posting this:
Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams has said she is willing to be Gordon Brown's nuclear proliferation adviser "subject to conditions".
She told the BBC she would accept the prime minister's offer, as long as she is allowed to retain her independence.
She also said she wanted the "right to criticise government policy".