Vince Cable denies Chancellor ambitions

 

Business Secretary Vince Cable denied today that he was pushing to be made Chancellor, as David Cameron faced a call from one of his own backbenchers to move George Osborne out of the Treasury.

Mr Cable sparked speculation over his ambitions when he told BBC2's Newsnight last night that he would "probably" make a good chancellor. But the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary insisted today that he was working in a team with Mr Osborne, and did not have a "radically different" agenda for the economy from the Tory Chancellor.

The Chancellor has come under increasing pressure after growth figures yesterday which showed Britain slipping deeper into recession, with gross omestic product (GDP) shrinking by 0.7% between April and June.

Mr Cameron acknowledged today that the figures were "very disappointing" and said more needed to be done to stimulate growth by attracting inward investment and supporting infrastructure development.

But Mr Osborne received a strong endorsement from the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria, who urged him to "persevere" with his deficit-reduction strategy and "stay the course".

Mr Gurria told Radio 4's Today programme that Mr Osborne was "sowing the seeds of what will be the elements for recovery" and warned that any weakening of resolve would be punished by the ratings agencies and the markets.

But dissatisfaction on the Conservative backbenches with Mr Osborne's performance broke into the open as Nadine Dorries said in a tweet: "For the sake of country and Conservative party, most trusted politician in UK, William Hague, needs to become Chancellor."

But the Mid-Bedfordshire MP, a regular critic of the Tory leadership team, made clear she did not expect Mr Osborne to be sacked, adding the Twitter hashtag "£wonthappen".

Asked if he wanted to be Chancellor, Mr Cable told Today: "I am not pushing for the job. We are part of a team. We have a collective agreed policy and I am delivering on my bit of it, which centres on the area of industrial strategy.

"I am not proposing a radically different approach."

If he were to be made chancellor, he said, "I would be building on what George Osborne has already achieved".

Mr Cable defended Mr Osborne from the Labour charge that he is a "part-time Chancellor", because of his other job, planning Tory strategy for the next election.

"I am a full-time Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and I do work full time at the jobs that I do, and I know that he does as well. My observation is that, like me, he works very hard.

"He is not doing two jobs. We all contribute in a collective way to the overall business of Government. I am responsible for the Business, Innovation and Skills Department, I also contribute to wider debates on the economy.

"We both work hard and we both work full time on what we are supposed to be doing, which is getting this crisis-hit economy out of the mire in which we find ourselves.

"We have got a combined approach and a team approach and we are going to stick with that."

Mr Cable said the Government was now pursuing what he called "Plan A-plus" on the economy, combining fiscal discipline with targeted support for infrastructure and housing.

The Business Secretary told Today: "I think it is right and necessary that we have budget discipline. That is the path we have embarked on and we must stick with that.

"But I think it is possible at the same time to have the foundations of a recovery which is sustainable.

"The reason we haven't got it is because the problems are very, very deep indeed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. We have had a collapsed banking system, we have massive amounts of debt - personal household debt, big Government deficits - and now we have got this enormous problem in our main export markets.

"I don't think anybody expected that the position across the Channel would deteriorate as much as it has done. It's not all their fault, that is one component of the problem.

"I think everyone concerned under-estimated the enormous damage that had been done to the country as a result of the collapse of the financial system and the great difficulties we have in growing out of debt.

"What we are putting in place is called Plan A-plus, which is that we do the budget discipline - which is absolutely necessary but is not sufficient - and we have to put in place measures supporting infrastructure and housing. They are coming through."

While manufacturing industries such as cars, aerospace and the creative industries are doing well, construction is "particularly depressed" as the result of the collapse of a bubble in both the domestic and commercial markets from 2008 which destroyed the sector, he said.

"There was a decision taken in 2009 by (then Labour chancellor) Alistair Darling to drastically cut the capital budget. This Government has maintained tough controls on that, but it has relaxed it somewhat and within the last few months plans have been put in place to get big infrastructure projects moving with the support of the Government.

"We realise that the construction industry is the weak link in the economy and we are putting in place measures to deal with it."

PA

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice