The unlikely love affair between Baron Jones of Birmingham and the Labour Party is looking ever more like a mismatch.

Reports from inside suggest the former Digby Jones, who became a Minister in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform last June, is losing what little support he had in the first place.

The allegations are that he has been sussed as a showman with limited substance, and MPs are getting fed up with it.

Some never wanted Baron Jones in the Government from the outset. It was, for example, claimed he had touted his CV around all three main parties looking for a peerage before Labour took the bait. And his refusal to become a paid up Labour member, though taking the whip, was viewed with disdain, particularly on the Left.

Even stranger, the voluble Baron Jones has been oddly quiet over the last six months. The cynics say once he got elevated to the Lords he had achieved his ambition.

They maintain he is not speaking enough in the chamber and is failing to rally the troops sufficiently in the country.

And there was much chuckling behind his back when a recent Select Committee grilling found him anything but comfortable.

It is all creating the impression left over from Baron Jones' days as director general of the CBI that he is very much a maverick. Is it a case of 'Lord Rigsby' - as some have dubbed him - first and the Government second, ask his enemies.

Or put another way by a newspaper in Scotland - is he a prophet or a prat?

Baron Jones' reputation remains secure in his West Midlands heartland. We enjoy his earthiness as much as his flamboyance. We see him as one of us, fighting our corner in a foreign land - London.

And there are few indeed who can bash the drum so effectively for a region with such a huge chip on its shoulder.

Industry loves him too because he has long championed their cause, seeing himself, one suspects, as something of a modern day auto baron.

Albeit when he joined the Government he was fast enough to duck out of a host of lucrative consultancies he had only organised a few months before, the likes of advisor to Barclays Capital, Ford, Deloitte and JCB.

That smacked of short-changing the hand that feeds you. Still, nobody stepped out of line and said so publicly.

However, there is no such easy ride in today's Labour Government. It is in turmoil - so long in office that it has plenty of disaffected MPs.

Those that have made ministerial ranks down the years, been sacked, and resent it; and those who have been left warming the back benches and feel shunned.

In addition, the remnants of the Blair/Brown split remains. The impression is that Labour is staggering towards eventual electoral defeat.

With Baron Jones seemingly looking to take the high ground and stay out of the scrum, unable to block own goals like the capital gains tax changes, the question on too many lips is - what use is he?

Yet he still seems to have the confidence of Gordon Brown.