Where's Vince gone?

Former star disappears from website and pulls out of appearance with Clegg.

At the start of the election campaign, it seemed that it would take surgery to remove Vince Cable from Nick Clegg's side.

The pair were pictured together on the front of the party's battle bus and the Lib Dems' website. And around the country, as if the Lib Dems feared leaving their young leader alone, the Tiggerish Clegg was forever trailed by the Eeyore-like Cable. Such was the latter's prominence at the party's manifesto launch that commentators cruelly asked: "who's that bloke standing alongside Vince Cable?".

But all that changed on Thursday when Clegg emerged victorious from the first TV debate and the Lib Dems' poll ratings went supernova.

Then, over the weekend, Cable suddenly disappeared from the party's homepage, replaced by a giant picture of "the most popular leader since Churchill".

Even more curiously, Cable pulled out of a scheduled appearance with Clegg at Cardiff University today, prompting howls of disappointment from students hoping to quiz the party's economic guru.

As he retreats to nurse his bruised ego, Cable may well consider the possibility that his woes began when he chose to compare himself to that well-known socialite "The Elephant Man".

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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