Cable: Coalition break 'possible'

Business Secretary Vince Cable has raised the prospect of the Coalition government breaking up before the election, during a fringe event at the Lib Dem conference. Earlier he attacked the Conservatives as "a nasty party which has reverted to type"

Latest ITV News reports

Cable 'not apologetic' about 'ruffling feathers'

Vince Cable
Business secretary Vince Cable has come under intense focus at the Lib Dem party conference in Glasgow. Credit: PA

Vince Cable has refused to apologise for "ruffling a few feathers" and defended his "blunt" warning of a potential housing bubble, insisting someone in the Government had to speak out on the issue.

The business secretary repeated concerns the Government's Help To Buy scheme could overheat the housing bubble and should be restricted to areas where prices are already low.

Asked at a fringe event organised by The Independent why he seemed to be at the centre of controversy every year, Mr Cable said: "Maybe people do think I am a bit blunt. I do not regard that as a criticism."

He continued: "Where there are differences in our coalition I am perfectly willing to fire off about it.

"There has been this flurry about the housing market. I thought that someone in Government had to say something. I said it.

"Maybe it's ruffled a few feathers. I'm not apologetic."

Read more: Vince Cable on form as he lays into the Tories

Advertisement

Vince Cable says break-up of coalition is 'possible'

Vince Cable has hinted at the possibility of the coalition breaking up before the General Election - despite colleagues insisting the alliance will "go to the wire".

Business Secretary Vince Cable looks on as delegates vote during a debate at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Asked if the coalition could break up earlier, the Business Secretary said: "It's certainly possible. We are not at the stage of talking about that process.

"It is obviously a very sensitive one. It has got to be led by the leader. We have not yet had those conversations. They are important."

Read: Vince Cable on form as he lays into the Tories

Vince Cable blasts 'nasty' Conservative party

The Conservatives are a nasty party which has reverted to type, Vince Cable said in a sharp attack on his coalition colleagues.

The Business Secretary said it had been the right move to go into coalition with David Cameron's party but that did not mean he agreed with many of the Tory policies or philosophies.

Vince Cable blasts 'nasty' Conservatives.
Vince Cable blasts 'nasty' Conservatives.

Dr Cable told the conference: "Like you, I have spent most of my political life fighting the Tories... but despite that I believe it was both brave and absolutely right for the party and the leadership to work with the Tories in an economic emergency in the national interest.

"Theresa May once characterised the Tories a decade ago as the nasty party. After a few years trying to be nice and inclusive it has reverted to type.

"We have got dog whistle politics, orchestrated by an Australian Rottweiler, we have got hostility to organised labour, people on benefits and immigrant minorities."

Confidential Lib Dem 'crib-sheet' for MPs sent to media

There was embarrassment for the Liberal Democrats on the first day of their annual conference when a crib-sheet of lines for their MPs to take in media interviews was inadvertently emailed to journalists.

MPs were reminded that they should say that the party met for conference "in a confident mood" and had "a strong record of achievement in Government". They were told to say that Labour "cannot be trusted to build a stronger economy", while the Tories "on their own can't build a fairer society".

Advertisement

Poll: Only a quarter of Lib Dem voters support Clegg

Almost three-quarters of people identifying themselves as Liberal Democrat voters said Nick Clegg was not a good leader in a survey by OnePoll for Daybreak. More than half said he should stand down before the 2015 election.

  • 28% said Mr Clegg was a good leader 72% who said he was not.
  • 57% said he should stand down before the next general election, with 43% saying he should stay.
  • OnePoll questioned 1,000 people for Daybreak on September 13.

Read more: Lib Dem conference tensions

Nick Clegg denies party rift

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has denied that there is a rift between himself and Vince Cable saying that they have worked closely on the ideas that will be presented without the Business Secretary at the party conference today.

Speaking to Daybreak Mr Clegg said: "The motion that we're debating today, Vince and I worked together in many important respects we've got some new fresh, distinctly Liberal Democrat ideas in that motion."

Load more updates