The City Diary: Bannatyne: A man for all parties

Is there no end to the Westminster grovelling of Duncan Bannatyne, irritating star of the irritating business talent show Dragons' Den? When Labour was in power, he would often schmooze the Government – saying George Osborne was "as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike".

Flexi-time vetoed in bid to cut red tape

Plans to give employees new rights to take paid time off for training or to work "flexi-hours" are to be scrapped in a Government drive to cut red tape, Vince Cable will announce today.

David Prosser: Memo from the OECD: neat surgery, shame about the rehabilitation

Outlook At first sight, the OECD's Angel Gurria gave George Osborne a pat on the back yesterday, praising the Chancellor for sticking to his "Plan" for speedy deficit reduction. But read the OECD's latest report on the UK economy and you will find as many brickbats as bouquets.

Evoque pulls in new jobs

Jaguar Land Rover's Evoque, which starts production in July, has resulted in supply chain contracts worth £2bn awarded to 40 manufacturers in the UK.

Hitachi's intercity train deal finally leaves the sidings

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond gave the green light to the threatened Intercity Express Programme (IEP) yesterday, signalling a resumption of one of Britain's largest-ever train orders.

Vince Cable's Murdoch gaffe cost £300,000

Vince Cable's gaffe about having "declared war" on media tycoon Rupert Murdoch over his bid to take over BSkyB has cost taxpayers £300,000, it was revealed today.

Is Michael (Lord) Oakeshott the new Vince Cable?

Having resigned in disgust over the bankers’ deal with the Government, the Lib Dems’ former Treasury spokesman in the Lords may take on the saintly Vince’s old mantle as the voice of reason and decency on the banks.

Sean O'Grady: Osborne's City 'friends' may be in for a shock

George Osborne is not a stupid man, though often underestimated. He and Vince Cable know that nothing would be more damaging to the Coalition parties than a public perception, lovingly nourished by Ed Balls, that they are "The Bankers' Friends". For Cable it would represent the ultimate betrayal of a career built on attacks on the City's bonus culture and "casino banks". For Osborne, it would be seen as a reversion to type for a millionaire Tory Chancellor to cuddle up to his banker mates.

Smith & Nephew prepares defence against US bidder

The US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will face a battle if it launches a renewed bid for the joint-replacement specialist Smith & Nephew (S&N) that could value the company at £7bn. On Friday, S&N's share price closed at 685p, valuing the company at just over £6bn, but had hit 735p as speculation about an offer mounted.

Cable leads 50-strong delegation to India

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, is leading a trade mission to India next week.

Banks to defy ministers over bonus billions

Bank chiefs are preparing to defy ministers' pleas for restraint and award billions of pounds in bonuses this year. Although the payouts are expected to be lower than in the previous year, they will still come as an embarrassment to the Government.

Letters: Criticism of Israel and dislike of Jews

I do not understand David Pollard's argument that it has clearly not been "a vintage year for the Wiesenthal anti-Semitic slur awards, if an obscure Lithuanian Holocaust denier and a moan from Christina Patterson ... have both made it into the Top 10 Slurs of the year" (letter, 27 December).

Letters: Cable v Murdoch: a grim lesson from America

Vince Cable vowed to wage "war" on Rupert Murdoch. Bravo to him!

Top Tips: Brandy, burns and bust-ups: your Christmas conundrums answered

How to light your Christmas pudding without burning your fingers

Newspaper sting undermines work of MPs, says Vince Cable

Vince Cable today hit back over the newspaper sting which left him clinging to his Cabinet job, saying that it undermined the work of MPs.

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