Cable's dig at Cameron and Osborne

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Vince Cable took a swipe yesterday at the economic judgement of David Cameron and George Osborne, mocking his Tory Cabinet colleagues' failure to forecast the credit crunch and recession.

The Liberal Democrat Business Secretary reminded business leaders that before the economic crisis the Tory leadership had shared Gordon Brown's commitment to economic growth.

"I don't mean to be mischievous when I point out that even my Conservative Coalition colleagues were busy developing policies about 'sharing the proceeds of growth'; the assumption – widely shared – being that strong growth was bound to continue," he said.

"Those of us who were worrying publicly about the unsustainable build-up of household debt, the housing bubble and the lending practices of banks were regarded as eccentrics or party poopers."

Alan Johnson, the shadow Chancellor, claimed Mr Cable was a "semi-detached member of the Government".