Cable expresses sympathy for St Paul's protesters

 

Vince Cable has revealed he sympathises with the feelings of those protesting outside St Paul's Cathedral.

Speaking to the BBC's Politics Show, the Business Secretary said the anti-capitalist demonstration reflects the feeling that a small few have done "extraordinarily well" in the economic crisis, while many more have suffered.

"I have sympathy with the emotions that lie behind it," Mr Cable said in his interview.

"Some of their recommendations aren't terribly helpful, but that's not the point," he added.

"I think it does reflect a feeling that a small number of people have done extraordinarily well in the crisis, often undeservedly, and large numbers of other people who've played no part in causing the crisis have been hurt by it."

Campaigners set up tents outside the Cathedral on October 15, causing it to close its doors to the public for a week.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said erecting tents in the middle of a city was not a "particularly constructive" way to exercise the right to protest.

Speaking to the House of Commons Liaison Committee this week, he confessed to having the "rather quaint view" that people "shouldn't be able to erect tents all over the place".

"Protesting, you should do on two feet, rather than lying down - in some cases in a fairly comatose state," he added.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Ed Miliband warned that the protesters reflect a "crisis of concern" in mainstream Britain which must be addressed by politicians, the business community and the Church of England.

Writing in the Observer last week, he acknowledged that those camped outside St Paul's had "a long list of diverse and often impractical proposals" and that many people would not agree with their demands or their methods.

"But they still present a challenge to the church and to business - and also to politics," he went on.

"The challenge is that they reflect a crisis of concern for millions of people about the biggest issue of our time: the gap between their values and the way our country is run."

The camp was set up under the name Occupy London Stock Exchange.

It plunged the Cathedral hierarchy into turmoil as it has debated how to respond, leading to the resignations of the Dean, Canon Chancellor and part-time Chaplain of St Paul's.

PA

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