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'Cable is a lame duck and should have gone': Tory backbench anger as Business Secretary clings on


-Two women posing as constituents trapped Lib Dem
-Minister boasts how he blocked BSkyB takeover
-'Murdoch's whole empire is now under attack'
-Cable offers to quit during crisis talks with Clegg
-Tories suggest Cable could be replaced by David Laws
-Clegg: 'It's been dealt with, we must move on'
-News Corporation: 'We are shocked and dismayed'
-Miliband: This shows the Coalition is a sham

Humiliated: Vince Cable leaving his home in Twickenham today

A senior Tory backbencher today branded Vince Cable a 'lame duck' and suggested he could be ousted from the Government in the New Year.

Leading dissent in the wider Tory party after the Business Secretary kept his job, Christopher Chope accused the Lib Dems of trying to have it both ways.

The secretary of the influential backbench 1922 Committee insisted Mr Cable should have been sacked and raised the prospect he will be replaced by David Laws.

Mr Laws had to quit the Coalition after just days in Government back in May over expenses revelations but is likely to return next year if he is cleared by the Commons' sleaze watchdog.

Tory MPs are furious that Mr Cable clung on to his job despite telling two undercover reporters he had 'declared war' on media magnate Rupert Murdoch, adding: 'I think we are going to win'.

In a secretly taped conversation which humiliated the senior Lib Dem and plunged the Coalition into crisis, he declared: ‘His [Murdoch’s] whole empire is under attack.’

Tories insist any Conservative minister who had committed a similar gaffe would have gone. Only last month, enterprise tsar Lord Young had to quit after saying people had 'never had it so good'.

'What seems to be happening now is that Vince Cable and perhaps some other Liberal Democrat ministers want to be having it both ways,' Mr Chope told the BBC's The World At One.

'They want to be able to support the Government for the sake of keeping the Liberal Democrats in Government and keeping their own ministerial cars, but then they want to be able to say to their supporters outside "Don't worry, I wasn't in support of that at all, I am rather against it".

'You can't carry on like that as a minister because you are effectively undermining your own Government. The question is how much longer can the coalition put up with having him as a lame duck. Perhaps the answer is that they are waiting to see when they can bring back Mr Laws,' he said.

'When we get into the new year, the Prime Minister will have to assess whether propping up the Liberal Democrats is in the long-term best interests of the Conservative Party and the country.

'Sometimes it can be more damaging to hang on to somebody, because it's a sign of weakness, rather than take the robust line and say the man's got to go.'

John Whittingdale, who chairs the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, agreed that the Business Secretary would 'almost certainly' have gone if he had not been a Lib Dem.

'I think that's almost certainly the case,' he said. 'I'm not happy, but nevertheless I accept that in a coalition we have to do things to keep our partners in the coalition content.

'Equally, it's quite plain that Vince Cable is the second most important Liberal member of the coalition. We have already lost one leading Liberal minister and the feeling was we cannot afford to lose another.'

Lib Dem Tim Farron, who is president of his party, insisted Mr Cable was 'about the most competent person' a Cabinet could wish for and denied a Tory in his shoes would have been sacked.

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Added: Dec-22-2010 
By: ellhow
Tags: vince cable, rupert murdock
Views: 7827 | Comments: 0 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
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