Iain Dale is getting remarkably steamed up about Shirley Williams. The very helpful holding statement from the party makes it clear that Williams was not offered, and would not have accepted, a government post. The offer Brown made, which has not yet been responded to, is to advise the government on nuclear proliferation, a narrow remit based on Williams' previous experience with the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Presumably, Iain Dale got equally steamed up about Chris Patten advising the government on Ulster Policing - did he? Williams was asked on Question Time whether she would accept the offer of a government (i.e ministerial) post. She said she thought that there was no chance she would be offered one. She has not been offered such a post, as the holding statement makes clear. So, she was right.
As "expriest" pointed out on LibDem Voice, Paddy Ashdown has served on the Parades Commission, Alex Carlile has advised on terrorism and Roy "the boy" advised on electoral reform.
This Williams offer seems no different to those roles or the Patten role. There are no red boxes or salaries or government departments involved.
Iain Dale also reports speculation from Adam Boulton that Lord Carlile will be the new Attorney General. I will comment on that if and when it is confirmed. In the meantime I won't hold my breath or explode prematurely.
Update: Baroness Scotland is the new attorney general.