An official report claiming that London 2012 was worth £9.9 billion to UK trade is a “marketing exercise”, Vince Cable has admitted.
The Business Secretary said the figures may not survive “a rigorous academic approach” but added they were "the best we can do".
When grilled on the report on the BBC Radio Four Today programme, Cable said it was "essentially a marketing exercise, using methods approved by the National Audit Office, which is a very tough test."
He added: "It is the best we can do – it is not necessarily something that would pass muster in the best academic journals but a test of credibility has been applied to it."
The Government's £9.9 billion figure includes investments such as £1 billion for "regeneration in the centre of Croydon", 16 miles away from the Olympic Park.
More top news
"I saw a lot of smoke come out from the tail-end of the aircraft. I wondered if it was normal, whether it was just exhaust fumes."
The House of Commons Petitions Committee has said they will keep an eye on the petition and are concerned about fraudulent signatures.
David Cameron will be facing a hostile audience when he meets with leaders from the remaining 27 EU nations this week, writes James Mates.