Vince Cable at his party's conference last year. Photo: Getty
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Vince Cable on leaked polling: “Lord Oakeshott’s actions are totally inexcusable”

The business secretary releases a statement saying that he has made it “very clear repeatedly” that Oakeshott does not act for him.

Vince Cable, who is in China at the moment, has released the following statement naming Lord Oakeshott as the source of the leaked ICM polling (pdf):

Lord Oakeshott’s actions are totally inexcusable and unacceptable. I have made it very clear repeatedly that he does not speak or act for me.

Commissioning and publishing polls without the consent of the Member of Parliament, as in the case of Sheffield Hallam, is utterly reprehensible.

There are undoubtedly raw feelings in the wake of poor local and European election results. We need to respond in a measured way. Public speculation about the leadership is an unwelcome distraction and as I made absolutely clear yesterday there is no leadership issue as far as I’m concerned.

The internal poll looked at how the Lib Dems would fare in 2015 in four seats they currently hold: Redcar, Cambridge, Wells in Somerset, and Nick Clegg's Sheffield Hallam constituency. The Guardian, which first reported the leaked data, said that the party faced “electoral oblivion”, but would perform marginally better under Cable's leadership.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

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