David Laws, the former Liberal Democrat Treasury chief secretary, is to return to the government as an education minister as part of Nick Clegg’s reshuffle today.
Mr Laws will not sit in the cabinet – he will work alongside Michael Gove, Tory education secretary – but will have an informal role advising Mr Clegg across the range of government policy.
Mr Clegg has been desperate to bring back Mr Laws to the government ever since the highly-rated minister resigned from the Treasury in 2010 after just weeks in the job in an expenses scandal.
It had been suggested that Mr Laws would work without a ministerial brief in the cabinet office, but his move to the Department of Education reflects the fact that schools reform is a priority for the Lib Dems.
Mr Gove and Mr Laws work well together and struck up a rapport while covering the education brief in opposition; putting the two in harness suggests the pace of reform could be accelerated.
Meanwhile Mr Clegg will leave his cabinet team intact, meaning there will be no move for Vince Cable, business secretary, Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, Ed Davey, energy secretary, and Michael Moore, Scotland secretary.
Mr Clegg is expected to make changes to his junior ministerial team later today with a promotion anticipated for Jo Swinson, his highly rated and young parliamentary private secretary.