Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sacking People Turns Some Tories on, Claims Vince

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sacking People Turns Some Tories on, Claims Vince

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil Deputy Political Editor

VINCE CABLE rocked the Coalition today by accusing Conservative "head bangers" of finding sacking people an "aphrodisiac", as he predicted another hung Parliament in 2015.

He warned that the Liberal Democrats must distance themselves from the Tories and fight the next election as a "totally independent, national, credible challenger for power".

Mr Cable opened the door to a coalition with Labour, telling the party's annual rally in Brighton: "We remain willing to work with other parties in the wider national interest."

The Business Secretary ratcheted up pressure to boost growth, calling for a plan A++ and warning that Britain had yet to escape the threat of "economic disaster" and the Coalition of "political oblivion".

While defending Chancellor George Osborne over spending cuts, he stressed the UK economy is still in a "dangerous" place and in words echoing Labour rhetoric, he added: "The country must not get stuck on a downward escalator where slow or no growth means bigger deficits leading to more cuts and even slower growth."

After over two years in Coalition, and struggling badly in the polls, Liberal Democrats were "battle hardened" but not "war weary", he argued.

To the delight of grass-root supporters, Mr Cable took a series of swipes at Tory MPs and advisers in his keynote speech. "We have seen off the 'head bangers' who want a hire and fire culture and seem to find sacking people an aphrodisiac," he said.

He won his loudest applause for poking fun at Cabinet colleague Andrew Mitchell, saying: "I've been told jokes about social class are not good for the unity of the Coalition but as a mere pleb I couldn't resist it."

He attacked "Tory backwoodsmen" opposing a "mansion tax" and even suggested Socialist French president Francois Hollande should follow his lead and bring in a "chateau tax". …

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