"I was told about this £20bn down the back of the sofa quite a long time ago"

Vince Cable on RBS: business quote of the day.

"I was told about this £20bn down the back of the sofa quite a long time ago by Mr Hester, and I couldn't understand his problem"

Vince Cable, business secretary, talks to the BBC after the state-owned bank RBS says it has discovered £20bn that can be lent to small firms.

Vince Cable. Photograph: Getty Images

Helen Roxburgh is the online editor of Economia

Photo: Getty
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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.