BUSINESS leaders and politicians said that it is now only a matter of time before business secretary Vince Cable is sacked after saying to two undercover reporters that he had “declared war on Rupert Murdoch”.
Sir Alan Sugar, founder of electronics firm Amstrad, wrote on Twitter yesterday: “Cameron and his apprentice Clegg will dump Cable soon”.
A backbench Tory MP told City A.M. that Cable’s credibility is in tatters: “The guy just makes himself look ridiculous, like a precious prima donna. It makes you realise that babysitting some Lib Dem front-benchers requires nursery school patience.”
John Whittingdale, chair of the parliamentary select committee on culture, media and sport said: “This does call into question his objectivity and independence in reaching what is essentially a quasi-judicial decision.”
Before yesterday, Cable had been responsible for deciding whether News Corporation would be permitted to buy out Sky due to concerns about media plurality. But Prime Minister David Cameron stripped him of all responsibilities relating to the media after his comments.
Sources close to Santander UK also said that Cable’s role in yesterday’s government meeting with banking chiefs was significantly undermined by the furore over his boast that he could “bring down the government”.
The source said: “There was initially speculation that the Liberal Democrats would try to kick around bank bonuses to regain credibility after the tuition fees vote. But we were in a different place 24 hours later.”
The meeting had been convened to discuss a deal on pay restraint in order to revive the image of the banking industry.
Cable has previously championed the cause of further transparency in banking remuneration, saying that secrecy over pay could foster “poisonous fungus”.