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Cable ready 'to stomach' another coalition with Tories

Vince Cable is prepared to work alongside the Tories in another coalition - but has set his sights on a new job.

Vince Cable is interested in working at the Treasury Credit: PA

Regarded as one of the most left-wing of Lib Dem Cabinet ministers, the Business Secretary is often touted as a possible partner for Ed Miliband if the party went into coalition with Labour.

However, speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Cable criticised the Labour leader's "poor judgment" and said he was ready to "stomach" another five years of co-operation with the Conservatives and would like George Osborne's job as Chancellor.

"I'm up for having a substantial role. My prime interest is the economy. There are two economic departments in Whitehall and I've done one of them for five years. I'll leave you to do the maths."

Mr Cable did not rule out a coalition with Labour, but was critical of two "really big mistakes" made by Miliband.

"He should have said up-front on the financial crisis that `We screwed up seriously' and done a mea culpa.

"And I feel let down by his foolish plan to cut university tuition fees to £6,000. It is a low-grade response. He couldn't resist a cheap soundbite at our expense. Very poor judgment. And his fiscal policy is so vague."

Vince Cable 'pretty sure' Tories won't win majority

Business Secretary Vince Cable says he is "pretty sure" the Tories will not secure an overall majority at the general election.

Vince Cable speaking this morning. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Mr Cable admitted it would be "difficult to work with the Conservatives or Labour" in the event of a hung Parliament, but added that it was the Liberal Democrat's mindset to show "we can work with other parties in the national interest".

The Business Secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr that he did not have any "personal preferences" as to who he would rather work with, but he label the Tories' spending plans as "potentially horrendous" and criticise Labour's policy on cutting the deficit.

He also denied suggestions he was in communication with Labour leader Ed Miliband behind the scenes.

Mr Cable said it was "very clear" Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg will retain his seat in Sheffield Hallam, as he refused to be drawn on his own leadership ambitions.

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Cable 'particularly troubled' by more recent HSBC claims

Business Secretary Vince Cable said he was "particularly troubled" at allegations that HSBC may have helped wealthy clients evade tax "more recently".

Business Secretary Vince Cable wrote to the HSBC Group chairman. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

In a letter to HSBC Group chairman Douglas Flint, Cable noted that the claims "appear to raise wider questions about the culture of the bank".

"These allegations would appear to raise questions about the extent to which the bank's internal culture has been comprehensively reformed," he wrote.

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Cable: Osborne's spending plans would be devastating

George Osborne's plans to cut public spending to reduce the deficit would be "devastating" for the UK, Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed.

Business Secretary Vince Cable. Credit: BBC/Andrew Marr Show

Describing the Chancellor's plans announced in the Autumn Statement as "ideologically driven", Mr Cable said the police, armed forces and social care would be severely hit by the proposals.

The Business Secretary said he would "really worry" if the spending plans in the next parliament were realised.

Mr Cable told the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show that the Liberal Democrats had kept the Conservatives on a "tight leash" and they had been "well behaved" while in coalition, but were now promoting "extremes" ahead of next year's general election.

Responding to Tory accusations that the Liberal Democrat's plans would leave the country in chaos, Cable said: "We are committed to financial discipline, but we're not veering off to the extreme ideology that the Tories seem to want."

Vince Cable accuses Royal Mail of 'scaremongering'

Business Secretary Vince Cable has accused the boss of Royal Mail of "scaremongering" in claiming the universal post service is under threat.

Chief executive Moya Greene has warned that the high cost of the service, which ensures a same-price delivery for letters anywhere in the UK, six days a week, is not sustainable in the face of competition in high-density, low-cost areas.

ITV News business editor Joel Hills reports:

Royal Mail is ‘wrong’ to scare public over universal service

Business Secretary Vince Cable has criticised Royal Mail bosses for “scaremongering” by indicating universal service may be under threat.

He said he felt it was "wrong" of chief executive Moya Greene to suggest it is.

He said a lot of people “depend” on the Royal Mail and the regular delivery it provides, particularly in remote areas, and he said they should not be made to feel insecure.

I think it’s wrong to scare the public.

The universal service obligation is absolutely clear, it’s protected in law by Parliament, it’s not going to change.

I think a bit of scaremongering is going on and it’s not healthy.

– Vince Cable, Business Secretary
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