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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
News
people
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
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

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

Upper KS2 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Upper Key Stage 2 teacher ...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + ?110 - 130: Randstad Education Reading: English Teacher ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments