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24 December 2010

‘I could bring down the government’, says Cable

The Business Secretary told undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph that being in coalition government is like "fighting a war" and that he may step down from government.

By New Statesman

The Business Secretary told undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph that being in coalition government is like “fighting a war” and that he may step down from government.

He was candid about his opposition to Conservative-driven government policy, and suggested that David Cameron has plans to scrap the winter fuel allowance paid to pensioners.

Asked about his influence over coalition policy, Cable said that he had some bargaining power with the Conservatives because he could bring down the government by resigning from his cabinet position.

“I have a nuclear option; it’s like fighting a war,” Cable said.

“They know I have nuclear weapons, but I don’t have any conventional weapons.”

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Cable said he had severe concerns with the pace and direction of coalition policy, describing the programme of reform as a “kind of Maoist revolution” which is “in danger of getting out of control”.

“If they push me too far then I can walk out and bring the government down and they know that.

“So it is a question of how you use that intelligently without getting involved in a war that destroys all of us.

“That is quite a difficult position to be in and I am picking my fights. Some of which you may have seen.”

“We are trying to do too many things, actually,” he said. “Some of them are Lib Dem inspired, but a lot of it is Tory inspired. The problem is not that they are Tory inspired, but that they haven’t thought them through. We should be putting a brake on them.”

Cable told the reporters that he is involved in a “big fight” over the banks, where his eagerness to limit bankers’ bonuses and cap non-EU economic migration puts him at loggerheads with the Treasury.

Cable today admitted today he was “embarrassed” to have been tricked into making the remarks.

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