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Sir John Vincent Cable (born 9 May 1943), known as Vince Cable, is a British politician who is the Leader of the Liberal Democrats and the Member of Parliament for Twickenham. He was the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2010 to 2015.

The Right Honourable
Sir Vince Cable
Official portrait of Sir Vince Cable crop 2.jpg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Assumed office
20 July 2017
Deputy Jo Swinson
Preceded by Tim Farron
In office
15 October 2007 – 18 December 2007
Preceded by Menzies Campbell
Succeeded by Nick Clegg
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Treasury
In office
8 May 2017 – 20 July 2017
Leader Tim Farron
Preceded by The Baroness Kramer
Succeeded by The Baroness Kramer
In office
12 June 2003 – 11 May 2010
Leader Charles Kennedy
Menzies Campbell
Nick Clegg
Preceded by Matthew Taylor
Succeeded by Danny Alexander (2015)[a]
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
President of the Board of Trade
In office
12 May 2010 – 11 May 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by The Lord Mandelson
Succeeded by Sajid Javid
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Skills
In office
7 January 2015 – 11 May 2015
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by The Viscount Thurso (2010)[b]
Succeeded by The Baroness Burt of Solihull
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
In office
2 March 2006 – 26 May 2010
Leader Menzies Campbell
Nick Clegg
Preceded by Menzies Campbell
Succeeded by Simon Hughes
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Trade and Industry
In office
9 August 1999 – 12 June 2003
Leader Charles Kennedy
Preceded by David Chidgey
Succeeded by Malcolm Bruce
Member of Parliament
for Twickenham
Assumed office
9 June 2017
Preceded by Tania Mathias
Majority 9,762 (14.7%)
In office
1 May 1997 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Toby Jessel
Succeeded by Tania Mathias
Personal details
Born John Vincent Cable
(1943-05-09) 9 May 1943 (age 74)
York, England, UK
Political party Liberal Democrats (1988–present)
Other political
Liberal (Before 1965)
Labour (1966–1982)
Social Democrats (1982–1988)
Spouse(s) Olympia Rebelo (1968–2001)
Rachel Smith (2004–present)
Children 3
Alma mater Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
University of Glasgow
Website Official website
a. ^ Office vacant from 12 May 2010 to 7 January 2015.
b. ^ Office vacant from 12 May 2010 to 7 January 2015.

Cable studied Economics at Cambridge and Glasgow, then worked as an economic adviser to the Government of Kenya between 1966-1968 and to the Commonwealth Secretary-General in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1968-1974 he lectured in Economics at Glasgow University. He served as Chief Economist for Shell from 1995-1997. In the 1970s, Cable was active in the Labour Party, becoming a Labour councillor in Glasgow. In 1982, he defected to the newly formed Social Democratic Party, which later amalgamated with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats, and he stood unsuccessfully for parliament in the general elections of 1970, 1983, 1987, and 1992 before being elected for Twickenham in 1997.

Cable became the Liberal Democrats' Treasury Spokesman in June 2003 and was elected as Deputy Leader in March 2006, serving as Acting Leader for two months in 2007 from Menzies Campbell's resignation until the election of Nick Clegg on 18 December. Cable resigned from both of these positions in May 2010 after becoming Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the Cameron–Clegg coalition government.[2]

Following the 2017 snap election and resignation of Tim Farron, Cable stood in the 2017 Liberal Democrats leadership election and was elected unopposed.[3]


Early life and educationEdit

Cable was born in York, to a working-class Conservative supporting family.[4] His father, Len, was a craftsman for Rowntree, and his mother, Edith, packed chocolates for Terry's.[4][5] Cable attended Nunthorpe Grammar School. He then attended Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, where he initially studied Natural Sciences and later switched to Economics.[6] He was the President of the Cambridge Union in 1965. He was also a committee member and later President-elect of the Cambridge University Liberal Club, but he resigned from the Liberal Party before taking up the office of President.[7] Whilst at Cambridge, he was a contemporary of the Cambridge Mafia.[8]

In 1966, at the end of his studies at the University of Cambridge, Cable was appointed as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow (ODI Nuffield Fellow) working in Kenya.[9]

He graduated in 1973 with a PhD degree in Economics from the University of Glasgow on economic integration and industrialisation.[10]

Economics careerEdit

Cable lectured for a time at the University of Glasgow and was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Global Governance at the London School of Economics, for a three-year period until 2004.[11] In 2016, Cable was made Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Nottingham.[12]

From 1966 to 1968, he was a Treasury Finance Officer to the Kenyan Government.[13]

In 1969, he visited Central America as a researcher on the recently formed Central American Common Market.[14]

From the early to mid-1970s, Cable served as First Secretary under Hugh Carless in the Latin American department of the Foreign Office. He was involved in a CBI trade mission to South America at this time, engaging in six months of commercial diplomacy.[15]

In the late 1970s, he was special adviser to John Smith when the latter was Trade Secretary. He was an adviser to the UK Government and then to the Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath "Sonny" Ramphal in the 1970s and 1980s.[16]

Cable served in an official capacity at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting of 1983 in Delhi, witnessing "private sessions at first hand" involving Indira Gandhi, then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Lee Kuan Yew, and Bob Hawke among others. He was also present at the summits of 1985, 1987, and 1989.[15]

In the same period, he contributed to the Brandt Commission, the Palme Commission, and the UN's Brundtland Commission.[15]

From the 1980s onwards, Cable authored and co-wrote numerous publications in favour of globalisation, free trade, and economic integration such as Protectionism and Industrial Decline, The Commerce of Culture, and Developing with Foreign Investment.

Cable worked for the oil company Royal Dutch Shell from 1990 to 1997, serving as its Chief Economist between 1995 and 1997. His role at Shell came under scrutiny as the company was accused of playing a role in a turbulent era of Nigerian politics during the dictatorship of General Sani Abacha.[17][18]

In 2017, Cable became a strategic advisor on the World Trade Board for the annual World Trade Symposium co-organised by Misys and FT Live.[19][20]

Political careerEdit

Early yearsEdit

At university, Cable was a member of the Liberal Party but then joined the Labour Party in 1966. In 1970, he contested Glasgow Hillhead for Labour, but failed to unseat the sitting Conservative MP, Tam Galbraith. Cable later became a Glasgow Councillor, and in 1979, he sought the Labour Party nomination for Hampstead, losing to Ken Livingstone; who was unsuccessful in taking the seat.

In February 1982, he defected to the recently created Social Democratic Party (SDP). He was the SDP-Liberal Alliance parliamentary candidate for his home city of York in both the 1983 and 1987 general elections. Following the 1988 merger of the SDP and the Liberal Party, he finished in second place at the 1992 general election to Conservative MP Toby Jessel in the Twickenham constituency, by 5,711 votes.

Member of Parliament (1997–2015)Edit

Cable entered the House of Commons after defeating sitting Conservative MP Toby Jessel in the Twickenham constituency in his second attempt, at the 1997 general election. He subsequently increased his majority at the elections of 2001, 2005 and increased still further in 2010. He lost his seat in 2015, but regained at in the snap election in 2017.

In 2004, Cable contributed to the economically liberal Orange Book. However, he has described himself as being a social democrat,[21] as well as an "open markets" liberal,[22] and stated his desire to reconcile "economic liberalism with wider moral values and social justice".[23]

Following the Orange Book, he was one of several Lib Dem MPs that oversaw the party's shift to economic liberalism with the adoption of a more free market approach.[24][25] In 2005, as Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, he suggested the possibility of the party dropping its commitment to a 50p top rate of income tax, supported exempting people on low income from income tax completely, and explored the possibility of a flat tax, with the former two proposals later becoming party policy.[26][27] In June 2005, he told The Independent that there was no future for the Liberal Democrats to the left of New Labour.[28] He was critical of what he considered the Labour government's slow response to cutting government waste, later accusing Labour of allowing a "writhing nest" of quangos to develop.[29][30][31]

Prior to the 2005 Liberal Democrat party conference, Cable did not rule out the possibility that the Lib Dems might form a coalition government with the Conservatives in the event of a hung parliament at the forthcoming general election. However, party leader Charles Kennedy said that the Lib Dems would remain an "independent political force".[32]

In late-2005 or early-2006, Cable presented Charles Kennedy a letter signed by eleven out of the twenty-three frontbenchers, including himself, expressing a lack of confidence in Kennedy's leadership of the Liberal Democrats. On 5 January 2006, because of pressure from his frontbench team and an ITN News report documenting his alcoholism, Charles Kennedy announced a leadership election in which he pledged to stand for re-election. However, he resigned on 7 January. Cable passed on the opportunity to run for the party leadership himself, instead supporting Sir Menzies Campbell's candidacy.[33]


A Twickenham resident, Cable commuted by train into Central London daily and so claimed the "London Supplement" instead of the Additional Costs Allowance. However, the Daily Telegraph reported in May 2009 that he had been unaware that he was entitled to the London Supplement and so in 2004 wrote to the Fees Office to ask if he could receive retrospective payments for 2002–03 and 2003–04. The Fees Office refused the request, informing Cable that these accounts were already closed.[34]

When overall MP allowances are ranked, Cable came in 568th for 2007–08 (out of 645 MPs). The Daily Telegraph also noted that he did not take a recent 2.33% salary rise.[34]

Deputy Leadership of the Liberal Democrats (2006–2010)Edit

Cable with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in 2009

Cable won plaudits for his repeated warnings and campaigns on the high level of personal debt in Britain.[35] His was a significant voice of criticism during the Northern Rock crisis, calling for the nationalisation of the bank, capitalising on the claimed indecisiveness of both the Labour Government and Conservative Opposition on the issue.

In May 2010, Cable declared his resignation as Deputy Leader to dedicate more time to his Cabinet role as Business Secretary. His responsibilities and authority were somewhat reduced when it was revealed in December 2010 that he had boasted to Daily Telegraph reporters posing as constituents of his "nuclear option" to bring the government down by his resignation. Still worse, he claimed to the reporters that he had "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation despite having the responsibility to impartially arbitrate on the News Corporation bid to acquire the remaining 60.9% of BSkyB it did not already own. Amid cries for his resignation or sacking, all his responsibilities concerning the bid were removed. Cable did not resign.[citation needed]

Following the earlier example of Ann Widdecombe, Cable appeared as a contestant on the BBC's Christmas 2010 Strictly Come Dancing contest but failed to win.[36]

Acting leader of the Liberal Democrats (2007)Edit

With the resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell as Party Leader on 15 October 2007, Cable being Deputy Leader automatically succeeded him as Party Leader pending a leadership election. Asked on Channel 4 News that day by Jon Snow whether he would be a candidate for the leadership, he refused to rule himself in or out at such an early stage, but a few days later; Cable did rule himself out.[citation needed]

Cable received significant acclaim during his tenure as Acting Party Leader, with particular praise for his strong performances at Prime Minister's Questions.[37] He was popular in the party and media for his attacks on the government's record over Northern Rock, HMRC's loss of 25,000,000 individuals' child benefit data and the party funding scandal surrounding David Abrahams' secret donations to the Labour Party. The latter attracted for Cable positive media attention for a joke at PMQs describing Gordon Brown's "remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean, creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos", called by The Economist, "the single best line of Gordon Brown's premiership".[38]

Views on the financial crisisEdit

Vince Cable in March 2008

Cable is credited by some[who?] with prescience of the global financial crisis of 2007–2010. In November 2003, Cable asked Gordon Brown, then-Chancellor, "Is not the brutal truth that ... the growth of the British economy is sustained by consumer spending pinned against record levels of personal debt, which is secured, if at all, against house prices that the Bank of England describes as well above equilibrium level?" Brown replied, "As the Bank of England said yesterday, consumer spending is returning to trend. The Governor said, "there is no indication that the scale of debt problems have ... risen markedly in the last five years." He also said that the fraction of household income used up in debt service is lower than it was then."[39]

In his book The Storm, Cable writes, "The trigger for the current global financial crisis was the US mortgage market and, indeed, the scale of improvident and unscrupulous lending on that side of the Atlantic dwarfs into insignificance the escapades of our own banks." In an interview about the book, Cable was asked whether he had warned about this. Cable replied, "No, I didn’t. That’s quite true." He continued, "But you’re quite right, and one of the problems of being a British MP is that you do tend to get rather parochial and I haven’t been to the States for years and years, so I wouldn’t claim to have any feel for what’s been going on there."[40]

In September 2008, Cable praised the-then US President George W. Bush for his response to the financial crisis and for attempting to "save Western capitalism." He compared this with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's response which Cable claimed was to be like a "Fairy Godmother" to the banks, and a "sideshow."[41]

Cable has also been vocal over the bonus culture in the banking system. He has called for bonuses to all bank employees to be frozen.[42]

However, Cable has been criticised by some, mostly Conservatives, for "flip-flopping"[43] on issues in connection with the crisis. For example, he is accused of criticising the Government's policy of Quantitative Easing, when in January 2009 he used the phrase "the Robert Mugabe school of economics",[44] while in March 2009 he said, "directly increasing the amount of money flowing into the economy is now the only clear option".[45] The Liberal Democrats also have responded that he was making the point that QE "needed to be managed with a great deal of care".[46]

On the issue of fiscal stimulus, Cable told the BBC in October 2008, "it is entirely wrong for the government to assume the economy should be stimulated by yet more public spending rather than tax cuts".[47] In February 2009, however, he said, "we believe – and the Government say that they believe – in the need for a fiscal stimulus. Despite the severe financial constraints on the public sector, we believe that such a stimulus is right and necessary".[48]

On the principle of the independence of the Bank of England, Cable said at the 2008 Liberal Democrat party conference, "The Government must not compromise the independence of the Bank of England by telling it to slash interest rates."[49] The following month, though, he called on the Chancellor to urge the Governor of the Bank to make "a large cut in interest rates".[50] The Liberal Democrats have responded that this in no way changes their policy on Bank of England independence.[46]

Coalition government minister (2010–15)Edit

Cable autographing a copy of his book, The Storm

At the 2010 general election Cable was again returned as MP for Twickenham. With the election resulting in a hung parliament, Cable was a key figure in coalition talks, particularly the unsuccessful negotiations with the Labour Party. The Liberal Democrats entered a coalition agreement with the Conservative Party on 11 May 2010, and Cable was appointed Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on 12 May. The Queen approved his appointment as a Privy Counsellor, and he formally joined the Privy Council on 13 May 2010.[51][52][53]

In May 2010, Cable insisted the coalition government was not split over planned increases to non-business Capital Gains Tax, which some thought would raise taxes on sales of second homes by 40% or 50%. Senior Conservative MPs attacked the rise as a tax on the middle-classes and a betrayal of Conservative values. Cable told BBC News it was a "key" part of the coalition deal and there was no disagreement over it between the coalition partners. Cable said the changes to Capital Gains Tax would help to fulfil the Lib Dem aim of bringing more "fairness" to the tax system: "It's very important that we have wealth taxed in the same way as income."[54] He continued,

At present it is quite wrong and it is an open invitation to tax avoidance to have people taxed at 40% or potentially 50% on their income, but only taxed at 18% on capital gains; it leads to large scale tax avoidance so for reasons of fairness and practicality, we have agreed that the capital gains tax system needs to be fundamentally reformed."[54]

He insisted there was no real disagreement at the top of government over the changes: "It's not actually an argument between the coalition partners, as I understand it, it's an argument between a few Conservative backbenchers and others".[54]

In July 2010, Cable sought to reform credit lines amid a "significant demand" (according to the Forum of Private Business) of smaller firms finding it harder to secure loans. Among a range of proposals published in a green paper, Cable urged banks to limit bonus and dividend payments to "pre-crisis and 2009 levels respectively", the green paper stating that such a move would enable banks to retain £10,000,000,000 of additional capital in 2010 could in turn sustain £50,000,000,000 of new lending.[55]

Cable with Financial Times editor Lionel Barber in 2011

The British left-wing press has been critical of his role in the Coalition Government, from The Guardian[56] to The Morning Star describing him as "the man who started off a Lib Dem and now looks more convincingly Tory than most of the Tory frontbench" for his role in supporting public spending cuts.[57]

Beginning in 2010 and continuing throughout the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition's tenure in office, Cable led the drive for deregulation; notably the "Red Tape Challenge" to reduce existing regulation and the "One In, One Out" rule to limit any future regulation, Cable agreeing with the need for a "bonfire of regulations".[58][59] The Guardian dubbed this as "neoliberal" while the response from the business community was largely positive.[60][61]

In September 2010, during a speech at the Liberal Democrat conference, Cable said that bankers present more of a threat to Britain than trade unions. Cable said that "On banks, I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than Bob Crow could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer. There is much public anger about banks and it is well deserved."[62]

After the interim report on banking by Sir John Vickers was published in April 2011, Cable said: "I read it over the weekend and I was very impressed with the quality of the analysis. It does address head on the issue of banks that are too big to fail, the dependency on the government guarantee. It makes the case for separation," he added.[63]

In June 2011, Cable said "rewards for failure" were unforgivable at a time when real wages were being squeezed across the country. Speaking at the Association of British Insurers biennial conference, Cable warned he planned to bring "excessive and unjustified" executive pay under control by launching a fresh consultation. He said that although "Britain does have some world-class executives", investors had not seen a return "since the turn of the century" and claimed executive pay was 120 times that of the average UK employee, whereas it was only 45 in 1998.[64] Cable later revealed Government plans that would require companies to publish "more informative remuneration reports" for shareholders. The plans also included binding votes by shareholders on executive pay as well as greater transparency and diversity on boards.[65]

Cable with former banker and CEO Stephen Hester in 2013

In November 2011, Cable announced the first of several reforms to employment laws. Beginning with changes to the tribunal system, he proposed the introduction of tribunal fees for employees making claims against employers, stating that the current system had become a "major impediment" to small businesses hiring people.[66][67] The tribunal fees were later ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court in 2017 after a court victory by trade union UNISON.[68]

In an article for The Telegraph in May 2012, Cable denounced the "red tape factories" of the European Union, calling for increased deregulation and labour market flexibility, as well as the expansion of the Single Market and scrapping of the Working Time Directive. He revealed that at a recent meeting of European economic ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania, a group of like-minded nations had formed in making these same demands.[69]

In September 2012, Cable and his department colleague Michael Fallon announced a large package of deregulation for businesses, including scrapping 3,000 regulations and implementing exemptions from health and safety inspections for shops, pubs, and offices. Cable claimed that businesses should not be "tied up in unnecessary red tape", but the move was criticised by trade unions.[70][71][72] Days later Cable announced further deregulation involving changes to employment laws, proposing to reduce employee compensation for unfair dismissals and allowing employers and employees to agree to an out-of-court 'pay off' for under-performance dismissals. This was also criticised by trade unions.[73][74]

In January 2013, Cable rejected calls by Labour for the government to intervene in the high street crisis following the collapse of music retailer, HMV, he said

“I am personally worried when I see hundreds, thousands of people losing their jobs… but it is not the job of Government to sort out the problems of competition on the high street. Consumers make their choices and there are consequences.”[75][76]

In December 2013, Cable supported the continuation of zero hours contracts after a government review, saying "they have a place in today’s labour market", although admitting there had "been evidence of abuse." His statements were met with negative responses from British trade unions.[77]

Cable making a guest appearance for the reveal of Jaguar XE at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in 2014

In 2014, during the Israel-Gaza conflict, Cable received criticism for his involvement in the signing off of arms deals to Israel, primarily concerning component parts used in the assembly of Hermes drones.[78][79] Shortly afterwards, he announced that arms exports to Israel would be suspended unless the recently declared ceasefire was upheld, a response which was condemned by Baroness Warsi, and by the CAAT who called it "very weak".[80][81]

In February 2015, Cable was reportedly a speaker at an event hosted by various arms companies at the London Hilton hotel.[82]

In 2015, Cable refused to issue export licences for the sale of Paveway IV laser-guided bomb to the Royal Saudi Air Force over concern about how they might be used in the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen. Cable came under pressure from then-Prime Minister David Cameron, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond for the immediate resumption of exports. Cable stated he was then given specific assurances by the Ministry of Defence that the UK would be given oversight of potential bombing targets to minimise the risk of civilian casualties, including involvement in decisions, to a similar level given to the United States. On this understanding, Cable agreed to issue export licences for a £200,000,000 order for the weapons. In 2016, it became apparent the Ministry of Defence did not have this level of oversight, to which Cable responded "That is categorically contrary to what I was told was going to happen."[83][84][85] The sale is being investigated by the Committees on Arms Export Controls.[86]

December 2010 Daily Telegraph commentsEdit

In late-December 2010, undercover reporters from The Daily Telegraph, posing as constituents, set up a meeting with Cable, who expressed frustration with being in the coalition and compared it to "fighting a war"; he stated he had "a nuclear option... if they push me too far then I can walk out and bring the government down and they know that", and had to "pick" his fights carefully. He also claimed the Liberal Democrats had pressed for a "very tough approach" to the UK's banks, which had been opposed by the Conservatives. He described the coalition's attempt at fast, widespread reforms (including the health service and local governments) as being a "kind of Maoist revolution", and thought "we [the Government] are trying to do too many things... 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." When his comments appeared in the press, Cable stated, "Naturally I am embarrassed by these comments and I regret them", before reaffirming his commitment to the Coalition Government, stating that "I am proud of what it is achieving".[87][88]

In an undisclosed part of the Daily Telegraph transcript given to the BBC's Robert Peston by a whistleblower unhappy that the Daily Telegraph had not published Cable's comments in full, Cable stated in reference to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation takeover bid for BSkyB, "I have declared war on Mr Murdoch and I think we are going to win."[89] Following this revelation, Cable had his responsibility for media affairs – including ruling on Murdoch's takeover plans – withdrawn from his role as Business Secretary.[90] In May 2011, the Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint regarding the Telegraph's use of subterfuge: "On this occasion, the commission was not convinced that the public interest was such as to justify proportionately this level of subterfuge."[91]

Cable's stature in the Government grew since then, being dubbed "the moral centre of this Coalition" by Peter Oborne, chief political commentator at the Daily Telegraph.[92]

Royal Mail saleEdit

As Business Secretary, Cable oversaw the privatisation of the Royal Mail in 2013. The share price increased by 38% within a day and 70% in a year. The National Audit Office said that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was too cautious when setting the sale price, but that a planned postal workers' union strike also affected the government's sale price. Cable refused to apologise, and said that the Government had been right to take a cautious approach, pointing out that the sale had raised £2,000,000,000 for the taxpayer, with a further £1,500,000,000 from the 30% stake in Royal Mail which it had retained. The NAO also noted that some "priority investors", had made significant profits following the sale, having been allocated more shares in the belief that they would form part of a stable and supportive shareholder base. However, almost half of the shares allocated to them had been sold within a few weeks of the sale.[93]

Post-ministerial careerEdit

Cable lost his seat, previously considered safe, to the Conservative candidate Tania Mathias at the 2015 general election.[94] He lost his majority of 12,140, and lost to Mathias by 2,017 votes.[95] Cable's elimination from Parliament combined with the Liberal Democrats' collective defeat at the election and the formation of a Conservative majority government obliged him to resign as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, a position which he held for the majority of its existence. He had also enjoyed the longest tenure as President of the Board of Trade since that of Peter Thorneycroft, which ended in 1957.

Return to parliamentEdit

Cable announced on 18 April 2017 his intention to stand for his former seat of Twickenham at the snap general election.[96][97] In May 2017, Cable urged Liberal Democrat supporters to vote tactically for Ealing Central and Acton Labour candidate Rupa Huq.[98] At the election, he was successful in winning back his former seat, with a majority of 9,762 votes.[99]

In a cross-party effort shortly after the election, Cable along with former Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband and veteran Conservative MP Ken Clarke made a joint submission to Ofcom, opposing 21st Century Fox's takeover bid of Sky.[100]

Following Tim Farron's resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats, Cable announced his candidacy in the subsequent leadership election.[101]

In July, he called for pro-EU MPs to support and "rally around" Chancellor Philip Hammond.[102]

Leader of the Liberal DemocratsEdit

On 20 July 2017, Cable became leader of the Liberal Democrats after facing no other competition.[3] He is the oldest leader of a major UK political party since Sir Winston Churchill.[103]


Cable has compared himself to centrist French President Emmanuel Macron, saying that as Business Secretary he had worked with Macron (then an economy minister) personally and that they have a "very similar" approach. He believes his party should occupy the "vast middle ground", likening the political conditions of the UK with those of France.[104][105]

As an economist, Cable considers Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes to be his heroes, recommending Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Robert Skidelsky’s Life of John Maynard Keynes to novice economists.[106][107]

He has called for cross-border digital services and a single EU market for Netflix.[108]

Cable has criticised the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, referring to its economics as "Venezuelan" and believes it is now dominated by "anti-capitalist zealots".[109][110] He claims Labour's policy of a large corporation tax hike would have negative effects on consumers and employees rather than reduce inequality. Instead, Cable suggests using land value tax to, for example, replace business rates. He has also long suggested aligning capital gains tax with income tax as a kind of anti-avoidance measure, previously noting this was last a policy of past Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson.[111][112] He believes the Liberal Democrats have more "common ground" with the Conservatives under David Cameron than with Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.[113]

Cable thinks Brexit may never happen. He maintains when people see the economic costs they will turn against it and a cross-party coalition of opponents to Brexit may develop. Cable said, “the whole question of continued membership will once again arise” if people's living standards worsened and unemployment rose. A Survation poll pointed to 53% of people backing a second referendum on accepting or rejecting the final Brexit terms, with 47% opposed.[114][115]

In 2017, Cable defended the £9,000 per year university tuition fees cap, claiming it would be "dangerous and stupid" and a "cheap populist gesture" to abolish tuition fees, adding that the "40% of students" who go to university should not be subsidised by the "60% who don't".[116] The comments were criticised on social media by figures on the left, while Conservative MP Jo Johnson voiced support for Cable's stance.[117]

Cable has been critical of the National Living Wage (the UK system of minimum wage), arguing in 2015 that smaller businesses would struggle to pay employees higher rates.[118]

Cable supports the continuation of the Liberal Democrat policy of a hypothecated 1p rise in income tax to pay for improved health and social care.[115][119]

On housing, Cable has called the demutualisation of building societies "one of the greatest acts of economic vandalism in modern times".[120] He has also backed building on green belts as a solution to the housing crisis.[121]

Personal lifeEdit

Cable's first wife was Olympia Rebelo, a Goan Roman Catholic, whom he met "in the unromantic setting of a York mental hospital where we happened to be working as nurses during a summer holiday."[122] They had three children together and she completed her PhD at Glasgow University in 1976.[123]

Olympia Cable was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the 1987 general election. After apparently successful treatment the disease returned in the mid-1990s and before the 1997 election. Olympia Cable died shortly after the 2001 general election.

In 2004, he married Rachel Wenban Smith. When appearing on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs programme in January 2009, Cable revealed that he wears the wedding rings from both of his marriages.[124]

A keen ballroom dancer, Cable long expressed his desire to appear on the BBC's hit television show Strictly Come Dancing;[125] he appeared on the Christmas 2010 edition of the show, partnered by Erin Boag and dancing the Foxtrot. He performed well and scored 36/40 from the judges, including a mark of 10/10 from head judge Len Goodman. Cable was the second politician to appear on the show, after Ann Widdecombe.[126]

Cable is a Patron of MyBigCareer (a career guidance charity for young people), the Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity (PKD)[127] and is also a Patron of the Changez Charity.[128]

Cable’s eldest grandson is social activist and entrepreneur Ayrton Cable.[129]

Vince Cable was knighted in the 2015 Dissolution Honours List and Received the Insignia of a Knight Bachelor during an Investiture at Buckingham Palace on 18 December 2015.[130]

Styles and titlesEdit

  • 9 May 1943 – 1973: Mr Vincent Cable[131]
  • 1973 – 1 May 1997: ' Vincent Cable
  • 1 May 1997 – 13 May 2010: Dr Vincent Cable MP
  • 13 May 2010 – 30 March 2015: The Right Honourable Dr Vincent Cable MP
  • 30 March 2015 – 26 August 2015: The Right Honourable Dr Vincent Cable
  • 27 August 2015 – 8 June 2017: The Right Honourable Sir Vincent Cable
  • 8 June 2017 – present: The Right Honourable Sir Vincent Cable MP


  • Open Arms Vince Cable (Corvus, 2017) ISBN 9781786491718
  • After the Storm: The World Economy and Britain's Economic Future Vince Cable (Atlantic Books, 2016) ISBN 9781782394495
  • Free Radical: A Memoir Vince Cable (Atlantic Books, 2010) ISBN 9781848870468
  • The Storm: The World Economic Crisis and What it Means Vince Cable (Atlantic Books, 2009) ISBN 1-84887-057-4
  • The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall; contributions by Vincent Cable and others (Profile Books, 2004) ISBN 1-86197-797-2
  • Regulating Modern Capitalism (Centre for Reform Papers) Vincent Cable (Centre for Reform, 2002) ISBN 1-902622-36-7
  • Commerce (Liberal Democrat Consultation Papers) Vincent Cable (Liberal Democrat Publications, 2002) ISBN 1-85187-688-X
  • Globalization: Rules and Standards for the World Economy (Chatham House Papers) Vincent Cable, Albert Bressand (Thomson Learning, 2000) ISBN 1-85567-350-9
  • Globalisation & Global Governance Vincent Cable (Thomson Learning, 1999) ISBN 0-8264-6169-7
  • Preparing for EMU: A Liberal Democrat Response (Centre for Reform Papers) Vincent Cable (Centre for Reform, 1999) ISBN 1-902622-06-5
  • China and India: Economic Reform and Global Integration Vincent Cable (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1995) ISBN 1-899658-00-9
  • Global Superhighways: The Future of International Telecommunications Policy (International Economics Programme Special Paper) Vincent Cable, Catherine Distler (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1995) ISBN 0-905031-97-0
  • The World's New Fissures: Identities in Crisis Vincent Cable (Demos, 1994) ISBN 1-898309-35-3
  • Trade Blocs: The Future of Regional Integration edited by Vincent Cable and David Henderson (The Brookings Institution, 1994) ISBN 0-905031-81-4
  • Commerce of Culture: Experience of Indian Handicrafts, Vincent Cable (Lancer International, 1990) ISBN 81-7062-004-X
  • Developing with Foreign Investment edited by Vincent Cable and Bishnodat Persaud (Routledge, 1987) ISBN 0-7099-4825-5
  • Economics and the Politics of Protection: Some Case Studies of Industries (World Bank Staff Working Papers Number 569) Vincent Cable (World Bank, 1984) ISBN 0-8213-0199-3
  • World Textile Trade and Production Trends Vincent Cable, Betsy Baker (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1983) ISBN 0-86218-084-8
  • Case Studies in Development Economics Vincent Cable (Heinemann Educ., 1982) ISBN 0-435-33937-0
  • The Role of Handicrafts Exports: Problems and Prospects Based on Indian Experience (ODI Working Paper) Vincent Cable (Overseas Development Institute, 1982) ISBN 0-85003-086-2
  • British Electronics and Competition with Newly Industrialising Countries Vincent Cable, Jeremy Clarke (Overseas Development Institute, 1981) ISBN 0-85003-076-5
  • Evaluation of the Multifibre Arrangement and Negotiating Options Vincent Cable (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1981) ISBN 0-85092-204-6
  • British Interests and Third World Development Vincent Cable (Overseas Development Institute, 1980) ISBN 0-85003-070-6
  • Britain's Pattern of Specialization in Manufactured Goods With Developing Countries and Trade Protection (World Bank Staff Working Paper No 425/8 Oct) Vincent Cable, Ivonia Rebelo (World Bank, 1980) ISBN 0-686-36204-7
  • World Textile Trade and Production Vincent Cable (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1979) ISBN 0-900351-85-3
  • South Asia's Exports to the EEC: Obstacles and Opportunities Vincent Cable, Ann Weston (Overseas Development Institute, 1979) ISBN 0-85003-068-4
  • World Textile Trade and Production Vincent Cable (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1979) ISBN B0000EGG8M
  • Import Controls: The Case Against Vincent Cable (Fabian Society, 1977) ISBN 0-7163-1335-9
  • Glasgow: Area of Need Vincent Cable. Essay in 'The Red Paper on Scotland' ed. Gordon Brown. Edinburgh 1975. ISBN 0-9501890-7-3
  • Glasgow's Motorways: a Technocratic Blight (New Society, 2 September. 1974)
  • Whither Kenyan Emigrants? Vincent Cable (Fabian Society, 1969) ISBN 0-7163-2018-5


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Vince Cable". Desert Island Discs. 18 January 2009. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Vince Cable Resigns!". 26 February 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Vince Cable named new leader of Liberal Democrats". 
  4. ^ a b "VINCE CABLE: My father said I was taking leave of my senses to marry into another race. We didn't speak again for four years". Mail Online. 
  5. ^ editor, Sarah Boseley Health (10 March 2015). "Vince Cable: adult education helped my mother overcome mental illness" – via The Guardian. 
  6. ^ York, Nicola (12 March 2009). "Vince Cable". London. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  7. ^ About us Keynes Society
  8. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  9. ^ "Life as a Fellow: Dr Vincent Cable MP, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, The Treasury, Kenya, 1966–1968, From a speech presented at the ODI Fellowship Scheme 40th Anniversary" (PDF). Overseas Development Institute (ODI). 15 July 2003. Retrieved 9 July 2017. 
  10. ^ Cable, Vincent (1973). Economic integration and the industrialisation of small, developing nations : the case of Central America (PhD thesis). University of Glasgow. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sir Vince Cable is made an Honorary Professor at The University of Nottingham - The University of Nottingham". 
  13. ^ "Dr Vince Cable MP – Secretary of State for Business". Liberal Democrats. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c Vincent., Cable, (2009). Free Radical : a Memoir. New York: Atlantic Books Ltd. ISBN 9781848874381. OCLC 792687014. 
  16. ^ "Sir Vince Cable - Georgina Capel Associates ltd". Georgina Capel Associates ltd. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  17. ^ "Vince Cable: Beneath the halo". New Statesman. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "Vincent Cable". Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  19. ^ "Sir Vince Cable joins World Trade Board as strategic advisor". World Trade Symposium. Retrieved 2017-08-26. 
  20. ^ "World Trade Board | World Trade Symposium". Retrieved 2017-08-26. 
  21. ^ "I can see another financial bomb going off". 
  22. ^ "Vince Cable's keynote speech on growth - GOV.UK". Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  23. ^ "Vince Cable: Beneath the halo". Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  24. ^ "BBC NEWS | Politics | Lib Dems call for pro-market move". Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  25. ^ Leach, Robert. Political Ideology in Britain (Contemporary Political Studies). p. 50. ISBN 023058473X. 
  26. ^ "BBC NEWS | Politics | Lib Dems call for 'fairer' taxes". Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  27. ^ "Lib Dems may support controversial flat-tax plan". The Independent. 2005-05-24. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
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  29. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Brown axes 104,000 civil servants". Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  30. ^ "BBC NEWS | Election 2005 | Issues | Analysis: The £35bn cuts claim". Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
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  32. ^ Justin Parkinson (18 September 2005). "Interview: Vincent Cable". BBC News. Retrieved 19 November 2007. 
  33. ^ Isaby, By Brendan Carlin, George Jones and Jonathan. "Campbell chosen to take on Tories". Retrieved 2017-08-26. 
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  35. ^ Michael White (20 February 2008). "The cult of Cable". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2009. ...Cable had been warning against Britain's growing personal credit card debt for several years..." 
  36. ^ "". The Guardian. London. 22 December 2010. 
  37. ^ Ansari, Arif (30 November 2007). "Vince Cable: Acting like a leader". BBC News. 
  38. ^ "Liberal Democrat leaders: The final straight". The Economist. 29 November 2007. 
  39. ^ "House of Commons Debates 13 November 2003 vol 413 col 396–400". 
  40. ^ Dominic Lawson (22 March 2009). "News Review interview: Vince Cable". The Sunday Times. London. 
  41. ^ "Monday View: Brown is not lenders' Fairy Godmother". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  42. ^ Brown 'very angry' about bonuses BBC News, 9 February 2009
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  45. ^ "Bank of England has now run out of conventional weapons – Cable". Liberal Democrats. 5 March 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
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  48. ^ "House of Commons Debates 2 February 2009 col 593". Hansard. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
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  50. ^ "Cable: To halt the bank tsunami, slash interest rates". 5 October 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
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  52. ^ "Her Majesty's Government". Number 10 website. Office of the Prime Minister. 12 May 2010. Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  53. ^ "Privy Counsellors". Privy Council Office. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
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  55. ^ Armitstead, Louise (2010-07-27). "Vince Cable threatens tax on profits if banks pay staff rather than lend". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-11-03. 
  56. ^ David Batty (4 December 2010). "Cable under renewed fire over U-turn on tuition fees". London: Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  57. ^ "No truth in this Cable". The Morning Star. 10 September 2010. p. 8. 
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  59. ^ "Vince Cable on a 'carefully considered' bonfire of regulations". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-17. 
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  61. ^ "Cable vows to cut back red tape". ITV News. Retrieved 2017-07-17. 
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  63. ^ "Sir John Vickers unveils radical shake-up of banking industry regulation". 12 April 2011. 
  64. ^ "Vince Cable attacks executive pay levels". 23 June 2011. 
  65. ^ "Vince Cable: shareholders should hold binding votes on executive pay". The Daily Telegraph. London. 23 January 2012. 
  66. ^ Mulholland, Hélène; agencies (2011-01-27). "Government sets out proposals to reform employment tribunals". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  67. ^ "Reforming employment relations - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  68. ^ "Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful". BBC News. 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  69. ^ Cable, Vince (2012-05-07). "The tide is turning against EU bureaucracy". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  70. ^ "Safety inspections set to be cut". BBC News. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  71. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  72. ^ "Vince Cable to 'cut back on red tape' in health and safety shake-up". ITV News. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  73. ^ "Tribunal payouts to be limited". BBC News. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  74. ^ "Employment law reforms are attack on workers, unions claim". The Independent. 2012-09-14. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  75. ^ Hiscott, Graham (2013-01-16). "Plan B or bust: George Osborne warned High Street will die unless Tories act". mirror. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  76. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  77. ^ "Vince Cable supports zero hours contracts". Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  78. ^ Mason, Rowena; correspondent, political (2014-08-07). "Nick Clegg challenged over Vince Cable role in approving Israel arms sales". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  79. ^ Neate, Rupert (2014-08-12). "UK government to block arms exports to Israel if military action resumes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  80. ^ "UK arms exports to Israel will be blocked if the ceasefire breaks down". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  81. ^ reporter, Asa Bennett Business; UK, Huffington Post (2014-08-12). "UK Will Only Halt Arms Exports To Israel If They Bomb Gaza Again". HuffPost UK. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  82. ^ "Revealed: the 40 MPs who attended arms dealers dinner". The Independent. 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  83. ^ Nick Hopkins (4 November 2016). "MoD seriously misled me on Saudi arms sales, says Vince Cable". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
  84. ^ "RAF Bombs Diverted to Saudis for Yemen Strikes". DefenseNews. Gannett. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2016. Britain is transferring Paveway IV precision guided bombs originally earmarked for the Royal Air Force to Saudi Arabia to enable the Gulf state to build stocks of the weapon being used against targets in Yemen and Syria, sources here said. 
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  86. ^ Cahal Milmo (10 March 2016). "Saudi Arabia's use of British weapons in Yemen to be investigated by Parliamentary commission". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2016. 
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  94. ^ "Vince Cable loses seat to the Conservatives". BBC News. 8 May 2015. 
  95. ^ "Election 2015 Live Report". The Guardian. 
  96. ^ Mortimer, Caroline (18 April 2017). "Vince Cable to run for parliament again after Theresa May's snap general election announcement". The Independent. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  97. ^ May, Josh (18 April 2017). "Coalition bigwigs Vince Cable, Simon Hughes and Ed Davey prepare to stand again for the Liberal Democrats". Politics Home. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
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  104. ^ "Vince Cable: I can offer the same formula as Macron". BBC News. 2017-07-21. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  105. ^ Stewart, Heather; Elgot, Jessica (2017-07-01). "Vince Cable: Lib Dems should emulate tactics of Emmanuel Macron". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
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  108. ^ Williams, Christopher (2015). "Vince Cable calls for single EU market for Netflix". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  109. ^ "He Predicted Britain's Financial Crash. Now He Thinks Brexit May Not Happen". 2017-07-19. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
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  112. ^ "Vince Cable: Government cannot wash its hands of tax". The Independent. 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  113. ^ "Liberal Democrats say Jeremy Corbyn's policies are 'completely unacceptable' — unlike David Cameron's". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
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  117. ^ "Vince Cable And Michael Gove Spark Anger Over 'Hypocritical' Tuition Fee Defences". HuffPost UK. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  118. ^ "Vince Cable warns small firms in the North East will be put out of business because of the national living wage | Business Advice". Business Advice. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  119. ^ Gallagher, James (2017-05-06). "Lib Dems pledge 1p income tax rise to fund NHS". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  120. ^ Treanor, Jill; Jowit, Juliette (18 June 2012). "Vince Cable laments destruction of building societies" – via The Guardian. 
  121. ^ "Green Belt should be developed, says Cable". Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  122. ^ Vince Cable (30 October 2005). "Married to the multiculture". The Sunday Times. 
  123. ^ Cable, Olympia (1976). "Brazilian presidential elections of the first Republic, 1889–1930". University of Glasgow DSpace Service. 
  124. ^ Brooks, Richard (18 January 2009). "'Two rings' Cable is Mr Romantic". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  125. ^ "Lib Dem Cable reveals dance dream". BBC News. 30 November 2007. 
  126. ^ "Vince Cable to star in Christmas Strictly Come Dancing". BBC News. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  127. ^ "UK Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity Website". Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  128. ^ "Royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton could be new patron of Whitton-based charity Changez". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 20 January 2011. 
  129. ^ "Vince Cable's grandson, nine, screens his animal welfare film in Commons". London Evening Standard. 
  130. ^ Hello (18 December 2015). "Arrise Sir Vince - Vince Cable knighted at palace". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 25 July 2016. 
  131. ^ "Economic integration and the industrialisation of small, developing nations: the case of Central America". 

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