First we brought you news that the coalition had tried to hire Malcolm Wicks, former Labour energy minister, as their fuel poverty tsar. Then it was the turn of Lord Adonis, former Labour transport secretary, to turn the job down. Neither was thrilled by the idea of getting the Field-Milburn-Hutton treatment from Labour colleagues who cold-shouldered the three former ministers for taking up jobs with the Lib-Cons.
Now it transpires that Chris Huhne, energy secretary, has been trying to hire Lord Whitty – formerly Larry Whitty, Labour general secretary – to do the job. You could be forgiven for thinking that by courting the peer (pictured on the right) the coalition was deliberately seeking another Labour figure to make their big tent look even bigger.
DECC refused to comment. But I’m reliably informed that Whitty, chair of Consumer Focus, is currently weighing up the pros and cons of taking the new post, which would involve chairing an inquiry. Whether or not he says yes is likely to depend on how the remit is phrased – and whether the job has the potential to genuinely make a difference to fuel poverty.