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Is Vince Cable going to run for Mayor?

Michael Crick | 15:07 UK time, Monday, 16 August 2010

David Morden (which may or may not be his real name) has posted a highly intriguing story in the comments on my last blog (which he has also posted on Labour List).


He suggests that people in Downing Street have been overheard discussing the idea that the Lib Dem Business Secretary should be encouraged to run for Mayor of London. As a coalition candidate, he implies.

What a neat, clever, wheeze, for, as David Morden suggests, it would use "one stone" to kill several birds.

First, it might resolve the Vince problem. Cable is widely thought to be deeply unhappy in his new job as Business Secretary.

Second, it would resolve the Lib Dem problem of finding a decent candidate for Mayor.

Other names in the frame are said to be Lembit Opik, Duwanye Brooks, and the recently ennobled former TV presenter Floella Benjamin, none of whom is likely to be a winner.

And - whisper it gently - it could solve the Boris problem, or at least to some extent.

Boris Johnson has yet to confirm he's running again, and with the government likely to be pretty unpopular by May 2012, he may prefer to give it a miss and get back to Westminster.

And it might help cement the coalition, though perhaps undermine Simon Hughes's claim yesterday that there would be no election pacts between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

UPDATE at 17:11: On the Cable for Mayor theory, a Lib Dem minister has just texted me: "I can't see Vince wanting to be Mayor! Or indeed wanting to stand for Mayor!"


  • Comment number 1.

    The coalition has already failed in the long term. Lib Dems were too quick to give ground after election in the name of 'stability' and will come back to bite them when fatigue finally sets in.

    However, it is an interesting idea. I don't personally know if VC will make a good mayor, but he has (unlike so many politicians) got the right sort of head for it I think. Of course, it's also in the Conservatives' interests too, as it will get him out of a position where he can cause trouble for them in the future.

  • Comment number 2.

    So the idea is the Vince should 'run' for mayor - with the obvious and so far unspoken belief that he will not become mayor.

    Vince's problem (or the problem with Vince) is that he dislikes the policy direction of the Treasury. As mayor he would be a considerable pain the the nether regions for the govenrment - it is questionable whether he would be more or less of a pest than Boris.

    So on balance this silly season story is just a way of side-lining the Clegster's two weeks in the limelight. I confidently expect a daily diet of similar anti-Liberal stories to emerge over the next fortnight! The spin kiddies in the Tory party are not all on holiday!

  • Comment number 3.

    "David Morden" is posting this all over the place. Whoever he is, he's clearly trying to *create* an internet rumour in order to make mischief. Instead of giving unwarranted credibility to groundless rumours from an unknown, uncheckable source, why don't you do the journalistic thing, ring Downing Street or Lib Dem HQ or even Cable himself, and then you can have a real story - which I expect will be their categorical denial of made-up internetalia.

  • Comment number 4.


    Vince is bright enough to know what motivated Nick - it is the same thing motivates Vince: AMBITION. Vince knows Nick has sold his soul and wrecked the LibDems aura of integrity (such as it was).

    Poor Vince.

  • Comment number 5.

    Is Vince Cable going to run for Mayor?
    Yep, he's not happy with his role in the Coalition Government. He's already doing interviews about London - his likes and dislikes.
    I agree with David Morden - "one stone", but I would finish this sentence "to please several birds".
    There's not a doubt in my mind that Vince Cable will win.
    And - whisper it gently - it could solve the Boris problem. Boris problem? What Boris problem? I thought he was still stuck on the chewing gum. Are you referring to highly unpopular Strata SE1 Tower at the Elephant and Castle? Did you get stuck on chewing gum while biclying to the SE1 Tower?
    I find Boris rather...ah...well...unusual.

  • Comment number 6.

    @John_from_Hendon: "Vince's problem (or the problem with Vince) is that he dislikes the policy direction of the Treasury. "

    Err... really really not. Cable is among the most hawkish people in the cabinet, if not the most - him and Clegg have been calling for cuts in the public sector, let alone SAVAGE cuts, for years.

    His dislike for the Tories has nothing to do with their economic policies and is from what I can tell very personal (his father was a "rabid" Tory and died of pneumonia he more or less caught while delivering leaflets for Thatcher).

    In fact the overlap between a report Cable wrote last September and the emergency budget is astonishing:

  • Comment number 7.

    Having said that, I could well imagine Cable giving Mayor a go, not this time but next time round.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    If Cable was to run he would want to have a pretty good chance of winning. Given the Lib Dems' performance in London this year and in the 2008 elections, I don't see that happening!

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is Vince Cable a comedian? Judging by the current mayor and his predecessor I had concluded that being a comedian, even if only an inadvertent one, was the main qualification for the job.

  • Comment number 13.

    Wasn`t Vince a Labour councillor in Glasgow..then a LibDem MP...then a celebrity dancer...then a virtual Tory government minister???

    He`s a man for all seasons..a Vicar of all-round politician...who could go ANY WAY!

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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