Nick Clegg has played down suggestions that Vince Cable knew about a controversial poll commissioned by Lord Oakeshott in the Deputy Prime Minister's constituency.
The peer, who has now resigned from the Liberal Democrats, privately commissioned surveys in several constituencies that showed a collapse in support for the party since 2010.
But Mr Clegg insisted the Business Secretary, once seen as an ally of Lord Oakeshott, was unaware of a survey in the Lib Dem leader's Sheffield Hallam seat.
"Vince Cable clearly didn't know a thing about a poll being conducted in Sheffield," the Deputy Prime Minister told BBC Radio Sheffield.
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Business Secretary Vince Cable has admitted European law means it would be "quite tricky" for the Government to block Pfizer's bid for AstraZeneca.
There have been suggestions ministers could scupper the takeover on the grounds that it is not in the UK's public interest to allow Pfizer to take control of the British-Swedish firm.
He told MPs on the Business Select Committee: "The framework which we have under the act, as you know, confines the public interest test quite narrowly and, of course, all of that takes place within the framework of European merger law."
Business Secretary Vince Cable has opened the door to a possible Government intervention if US firm Pfizer bids to take over British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Although Chancellor George Osborne said he would back "any arrangement" that secured British jobs, his Liberal Democrat colleague said he was "not ruling out intervention".
The Government has the option of putting the bid to a public interest test if it considers that the takeover may harm the British economy.
"One of our options as the Government would be to consider using our public interest test powers," Dr Cable said.
"This would be a serious step and not one that should be taken lightly and I'm open-minded about it while stressing that we are operating in serious European legal constraints."
Business Secretary Vince Cable has said the Government will show "even-handed neutrality" over Pfizer's bid for British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
Answering questions in the House of Commons, Dr Cable said: "The Government must and will approach it from the position of even-handed neutrality and recognise that this is ultimately a matter for the shareholders of both companies."
He also sought to reassure MPs about the impact of any possible takeover on jobs, saying: "I and my colleagues across Government engaged early with both companies to make sure the outcome is positive for the UK."
The Communication Workers Union, which held its annual conference in Bournemouth this week, repeated its call for Vince Cable to resign, describing the privatisation as "botched."
Business secretary Vince Cable, who visits the Business Select Committee on Tuesday to give further evidence on the Royal Mail sell-off, has continued to receive criticism over selling shares too cheaply.
Companies should be forced to reveal how much their top earners receive in relation to average employees, Labour has said.
After Vince Cable wrote to companies Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna said the government had "caved in" by failing to introduce promised shareholder votes on executive remuneration.
“We need more transparency, accountability and fairness in how executive pay is set," he said.
"An important step in this direction would be for firms to publish the ratio of the pay of top earners compared to average employees as well as putting employee representatives on remuneration committees.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable has urged Britain's leading companies to show restraint over executive pay and slash bonuses to restore public trust.
In a stern letter to the UK's top 100 listed businesses he warned that persisting with excessive pay deals would be a "dereliction of duty" and could cause long-term damage to companies.
With the public gaze continuing to fall on exorbitant pay, Mr Cable issued a stark warning that new legislation could follow unless such deals were curbed.
His pleas come as the season of annual general meetings of leading companies gets under way, with Barclays' being held tomorrow.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has called to "tighten-up the regime" of "rogue" directors, under new proposal to disqualify those convicted with overseas offences.
Speaking to ITV News, Mr Cable said: "There are some nasty scams out there, we've had them around wine shops and land banks... a lot of people have been cheated out of a lot of money".
Government proposals to implement more restrictions and punishments for so-called "dodgy directors" will protect Britain's economy, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said. He added:
The vast majority of directors in this country run their businesses in the right way. But some people have suffered unnecessary losses as a result of rogue behaviour.
Rogue directors can cause a huge amount of harm in terms of large financial losses, unnecessary redundancies and lifelong investments going down the drain. It is only right that we should put the toughest possible sanctions in place, make sure we stamp out unfair practices and deter those who are looking to act dishonestly.