Green snub unlikely to improve Cable’s mood

“I’m tempted to comment, but I think I’d better not.”

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Intriguing quote from Vince Cable on the front page of City AM this morning. The splash, "Cable snubbed over Green role", claims the Business Secretary was not consulted over the appointment of Sir Philip Green to lead a review into government efficiency.

 

Given his ministerial duties, you might expect Cable to have had prior knowledge of the Arcadia boss's high-profile role, which was clearly on the coalition's PR grid for this week. However, it seems that Cable was in the dark, and he told the paper's David Crow:

There's a lot I could say on this, but I'd better miss this one out . . . I'm tempted to comment, but I think I'd better not.

Cable, you see, is a vociferous opponent of tax avoidance, while Sir Philip, in the words of the article, "has been associated with sophisticated tax planning arrangements in the UK and offshore locations to produce tax savings on behalf of non-resident members of his family". Cable would not be alone in having misgivings about the appointment.

Last weekend my colleague Mehdi Hasan asked if the increasingly "semi-detached" and "grumpy" Cable would be the first Lib Dem to leave David Cameron's cabinet voluntarily. Despite the spin put out by his spokeswoman -- "Sir Philip hasn't been recruited to advise Vince. If they consulted him on every appointment, they'd never get anything done" -- it's unlikely that this latest chapter has helped Cable's mood.

In related news, Crow yesterday produced one of the week's more entertaining tweets:

David Cross, Twitter

 

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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