Did the fight to protect legal aid from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act get under the skin of Liberal Democrat rank and file? Or are the party’s activists just quick to forgive?
Obiter wonders. A regular survey by the website libdemvoice.org seems to show the star of justice minister and peer Tom McNally (pictured), who steered the legal aid bill through the Lords (a somewhat chequered performance at the dispatch box, Obiter, recalls), to be on the rise.
The survey asks members to score their satisfaction with senior Lib Dems’ performance. Of the 500 respondents in August, just 3% were ‘very dissatisfied’ with Tom’s performance, and 7% were ‘quite’ dissatisfied, giving him a net satisfaction rating of 36%.
That is somewhat short of a reassuring half of all members. But it is still up from his 23% standing in June. Hence Obiter’s guess that rank and file didn’t like the legal aid bill, but for some obscure reason have made their peace now the measure is on the statute book.
Still, 44% had ‘no opinion’ – something to build on for Tom’s opponents. Or maybe members, with time to reflect, just blamed deputy PM Nick Clegg – his net satisfaction was somewhere behind on 21%.