Speaker John Bercow and MPs criticise 'Awol' Vince Cable
Thursday 24 May 2012
"Awol" Vince Cable was criticised by Commons Speaker John Bercow today after the Business Secretary skipped his monthly grilling from MPs.
Mr Cable was in Germany rather than at the Westminster dispatch box where ministers from his department took his place - but failed to explain why he was missing.
His absence from the chamber was condemned by Mr Bercow, who said: "Ordinarily when a Secretary of State is absent the facts of the absence are explained at the start of question time.
"I know the Secretary of State is absent because I have received a letter from him, but for the record it would be desirable to be told at the outset.
"In general terms it is highly undesirable for the Secretary of State to absent on these occasions.
"It must not become a regular practice."
Labour MPs joined the criticism with shadow business minister Ian Murray describing Mr Cable as "the awol Secretary of State".
John Spellar (Warley) was "astonished the Secretary of State hasn't turned up today", adding it was "bad form".
Business Minister Mark Prisk said Mr Cable was promoting British business in Germany, telling Mr Bercow: "We will note the admonishment you have made."
A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokeswoman said Mr Cable was visiting Germany with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, adding the trip had been "planned for months".
Mr Cable was also missing from the Commons on Monday when Mr Prisk was forced to deputise for his boss after Labour tabled an urgent question on venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft's leaked report into cutting business red tape.
Mr Cable's fellow Cabinet minister, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, missed his Commons question time last week.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This market leader in Medical Devices is...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...