Vince Cable says that an early coalition break-up is “possible”
Business secretary Vince Cable has hinted that the coalition government could split before the next general election, telling journalists at a fringe Liberal Democrat event that it was “possible”. The comments came after Cable’s keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat conference, which contained several stinging barbs aimed at his Tory coalition partners.
Cable slammed the Conservatives, characterising them as “nasty”, he criticised their “hostility to organised labour, people on benefits and minorities” and said that in difficult times the Tories believe “fear trumps hope and competence requires callousness”, before concluding “that’s not politics, it’s ugly”.
Cable’s position is in stark contrast to what senior ministers have always maintained: that the coalition would see out its full five-year term. Cable attempted to temper his comments by adding when pressed about a possible split “we have not yet had those conversations…it has got to be led by the leader [Nick Clegg]”.
But perhaps more shocking than Cable’s statement about the possibility of the coalition ending early was his sustained mauling of government policies that his party have been a part of. He warned against creating another housing bubble, presumably a thinly-veiled reference to Chancellor George Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme.
Cable went on to say: “We are five years on from the biggest market failure of our lifetime…Labour was negligent. But Tory friends and donors were at the heart of the greed and recklessness. They want business as usual.”
Other party figures have moved to distance themselves from Cable’s comments about a possible split, with party president Tim Farron and education minister David Laws both saying that the coalition is likely to last until the next election. But as polling day draws nearer many expect the chances of an early split to increase and the questions don’t look set to go away anytime soon.