Sir Vince Cable has been Leader of the Liberal Democrats for just a short while, but there is no doubt that he is well aware of the task ahead of him. A seasoned politician who has served in the Cabinet he will, for sure, know the pitfalls of taking on the party leadership at such an unstable time in British politics. He will also have observed the progress (or lack thereof) of the Liberal Democrats since the 2015 General Election and will have weighed up different paths to pursue.
It’s not an easy undertaking for Sir Vince – the Lib Dems were expecting to make greater gains in the election and whilst they must be delighted to have big hitters like Cable, Swinson and Davey returned to the parliamentary fold, they missed out on many seats that would have indicated greater electoral progress. In taking over from Tim Farron, once question in the forefront of Cable’s mind must have been how to garner greater publicity for the fourth largest party in British politics and thus gain some traction. A tricky problem to solve as the media is full of stories of infighting and disagreements within the Conservative and Labour parties.
So the Lib Dem decides to jump on the bandwagon and Cable tells the press that Boris Johnson is on the verge of resigning. It might be true it might not, but from the Lib Dem Leader’s perspective it gets him talked about and in the papers during ‘silly season’ when there is little else of significance going on. Whether this is a successful long term strategy for raising the party’s profile is unclear. Most likely they will want to focus on the Lib Dem message rather than grabbing the coat tails of another story.
The Liberal Democrats have the unenviable task of making themselves relevant again to British politics at a time when there appears to be no place for them. So perhaps using other politicians to raise their profile could be just the ticket?