Vince Cable accuses Lib Dem peer of commissioning unauthorised polls
Business secretary condemns Lord Oakeshott for ‘utterly reprehensible’ conduct.
Vince Cable has disowned his long-term political ally Lord Oakeshott, accusing him of commissioning polls showing the party trailing badly in four seats including Nick Clegg’s own and described this as “totally inexcusable and unacceptable”.
In the latest twist in the bitter battle over the political direction of the Liberal Democrats, the business secretary issued a statement from China where he is on a trade mission condemning the “utterly reprehensible” conduct.
Cable’s intervention came a day after ICM polls were leaked to the Guardian, showing the Lib Dems were set to lose in four constituencies held by the party, including Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam.
The polls, released in the wake of the party’s disastrous European and local election results, also showed that the party would lose badly in Wells, Redcar and Cambridge if Clegg remained leader, so challenging the mantra that locally active MPs can withstand the loss of wider support nationally for the party.
The business secretary said: “The commissioning and publishing of polls without the consent of the member of parliament is utterly reprehensible.
“There are undoubtedly raw feelings in the wake of poor local and European election results. We need to respond in a measured way. Public speculation about the leadership is an unwelcome distraction and as I made absolutely clear yesterday there is no leadership issue as far as I am concerned.”
Cable went on to say that Oakshott “does not speak or act for me”.
- The Guardian,