Vince Cable considered quitting after row

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Vince Cable has told how he considered resigning from the Government after his embarrassing comments to undercover reporters in December.

The Business Secretary said he "certainly thought" about resigning from the coalition but his family persuaded him not to.

Mr Cable, a Liberal Democrat, was stripped of his responsibilities for the media after he claimed to have "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch's empire in a secretly-taped interview by the Daily Telegraph.

He also revealed deep misgivings about several coalition policies and bragged that he could "bring the government down" if he resigned.

Asked whether he had been "politically naive", he told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "If it's politically naive not to assume that you're being bugged the whole time, then I suppose I'm politically naive.

"But I think it's a reasonable working assumption that you don't have tape recorders down the bosoms of lady journalists who are interviewing you."

Pressed on whether he had considered resigning, he said: "I certainly thought about it but the people who I'm closest to and have the most respect for - including my own family, of course - thought that wasn't the right thing to do."

Mr Cable said he had been under a lot of pressure - both "political and emotional" - in the six weeks following the incident, adding: "That's when you discover your friends."

He said the Prime Minister and his deputy, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, "wanted to keep me in the government but they weren't happy with what had happened".

Mr Cable also said he did not regret criticising David Cameron's speech on immigration last week.

He said: "Obviously we're operating in a government and there are constraints, but, no, I felt it was necessary to say something about the way it was expressed.

"It's striking this balance the whole time between expressing a collective, agreed view of government while maintaining the identity of our party."

It was important to maintain "some independence of thinking" on some areas of policy, he added.

He said he did not expect to be turfed out of Cabinet in the Prime Minister's next reshuffle but he could probably double his income if that happened.

"I think everybody concerned understands there is some merit in continuity," he said.

"I think being switched around in government probably isn't good practice.

"If I find myself outside the Government, I can assure you there are all kinds of things I can do with my life.

"I can have much fun going around the country speaking, writing books and probably doubling my income in the process.

"But I'm doing an important job of work, I think, and I think and hope I will continue in it."