Vince Cable in conversation with Steve Richards - Live coverage - The Independent

Vince Cable in conversation with Steve Richards

The Business Secretary and the Independent columnist at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow

  • 18.15
    9/16/2013 4:53:12 PM
  • Welcome to Steve Richards in conversation with Vince Cable at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow, sponsored by RSA insurance group
    9/16/2013 5:02:00 PM
  • Steve Richards asks: "Have you personally left the so-called equidistance a bit?" Does he feel more at ease attacking the Tories. He replies: "No I am emphatically equidistant."
    9/16/2013 5:09:41 PM
  • Cable describes relations with Conservatives as very professional and affable, including with his "very ideological" Tory junior ministers
    9/16/2013 5:10:56 PM
  • SR suggests that his conference speech suggests he is deeply uneasy working with Conservatives.
    9/16/2013 5:12:05 PM
  • Cable says that is his comments had a bit edge than they had in the past it is because of "the increasing recourse to dog whistle politics" and the Tory campaign on immigration.
    9/16/2013 5:13:09 PM
  • Cable admits, after a repeat question, that he does feel "unease" about working with Tories
    9/16/2013 5:14:08 PM
  • Cable says that business wants to restore its reputation after the LIBOR scandal etc. He cites "very strong support" from the CBI over his attempt to get firms to rein in fat cat pay
    9/16/2013 5:15:35 PM
  • SR says your speech made a clear warning that Lib Dems can't just "split the difference" between Conservatives and Labour
    9/16/2013 5:16:33 PM
  • Where my emphasis differs, Cable says, is that I'm leading a long term growth strategy and "I want my party to own that".
    9/16/2013 5:17:28 PM
  • Cable concedes there are differences in the way the coalition parties approach economic growth. They look for tax cuts: he focuses on "where we have business failures" and investment in training
    9/16/2013 5:19:09 PM
  • SR: "You must have some worries that this is not Nick Clegg's approach" Cable: "No, I don't worry...we are on the same page on that." That remark provoked loud laughter from Lib Dems in the audience.
    9/16/2013 5:20:11 PM
  • SR: I saw you arrive with about 50 cameras, like a rock star" - more laughter
    9/16/2013 5:20:37 PM
  • Steve Richards comes out with a bold statement of the obvious: "You were there when you arrived this morning."
    9/16/2013 5:21:14 PM
  • Vince Cable underplays the media interest, suggesting that he is not really a skillful media operator...and minutes later provokes loud applause by mentioning what he said earlier on housing. He says that he is on the one hand "more controversial" (than Nick Clegg) and on the other hand "we are on the same page."
    9/16/2013 5:23:10 PM
  • I should note that Vince Cable is loyally wearing a yellow tie, not a Lib Dem tie, but the colour is approximately right
    9/16/2013 5:24:10 PM
  • He says "very few young people" (he includes people in their 30s) have "no chance" of achieving home ownership, which is why he is "sounding off" about the risk that the government is setting off another housing bubble.
    9/16/2013 5:25:39 PM
  • "We should be having this debate amongst ourselves rather than through you," Cable says, which rather alarmingly implies that members of the Cabinet don't discuss something as important as house prices and the impact of government policies
    9/16/2013 5:26:50 PM
  • Asked what he can do about immigration, Cable points out that his departmental responsibilities include foreign university students. He fears that negative publicity about the government's attitude to immigration has done "damage", especially in places like India
    9/16/2013 5:30:46 PM
  • Cable describes visiting a firm where the chief engineer had to go back to India at a vital time to renew his visa , which was very disruptive
    9/16/2013 5:31:30 PM
  • "We get a tenth of the number of Chinese coming here as France of Germany, why?" Cable adds, implying again that Tory immigration policy is to blame. Immigration is "a constant source of tension." The Home Office's summer campaign was "pretty disgraceful"
    9/16/2013 5:33:06 PM
  • Earlier today, Vince Cable likened himself to Jeremiah - who was right, he claims. Now he adds "Let's not rush to conclusions" that we are out of crisis
    9/16/2013 5:34:45 PM
  • SR asks what can he do to reassure Sarah Teather, who is quitting as an MP, disillusioned, that her concerns are being addressed.
    9/16/2013 5:36:08 PM
  • Cable is asked if there is any issue that he would feel so strongly about that he would leave the Cabinet. His reply: "I think President Obama has demonstrated the dangers of parading your red lines in public." Applause.
    9/16/2013 5:39:22 PM
  • Answering the first question from the audience, Vince Cable says he doesn't think his Bis department would be as effective if it was a purely Lib Dem department
    9/16/2013 5:41:53 PM
  • Asked about the Lloyds sale, Cable says he has not had time to study the detail, it's market sensitive, so he would prefer not to talk about it.
    9/16/2013 5:44:22 PM
  • Q: If you could have had one other department in the government which one would you have wanted, and why? A: Cable says he is not going to answer, because the answer is so obvious (that he would have like to be Chancellor of the Exchequer) The audience caught his meaning immediately, and applauded
    9/16/2013 5:46:00 PM
  • In the environmental field, there are "quite a lot of things" the Tories would have done if the Lib Dems hadn't stopped them, Cable claims. Owen Paterson perhaps not his favourite Cabenit colleague
    9/16/2013 5:47:42 PM
  • By far the most traumatic issue that we had to face as a party in government was student tuition fees, Cable says. We lost a lot of credibility because of it. But he believes that his department has done a great deal to mitigate the effects of it, and to promote social mobility in higher education. the policy is far more progressive than it might have been, with record numbers from underprivileged backgrounds entering university.
    9/16/2013 5:52:06 PM
  • "It's certainly possible" that the coalition parties will go their separate ways before an election, Cable says: though he can't say much more on that subject
    9/16/2013 5:53:26 PM
  • "We have learnt lessons: be careful what you promise." says Cable - an oblique reference to the tuition fees fiasco. "We have learnt that the hard way." Laughter.
    9/16/2013 5:54:14 PM
  • "I'm the longest standing Secretary of State in my department for decades," Cable says. Asks whether he is a future Lib Dem leader - a suggestion producing cheers from the audience, he says: "Absolutely not an issue."
    9/16/2013 5:55:51 PM
  • And that is the end to this evening's conversation. Thanks to the sponsors, RSA
    9/16/2013 5:56:18 PM
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