Vince Cable and a parliamentary aide have been ordered to apologise by the Standards Commissioner — after Political Scrapbook wrote to the watchdog highlighting their failure to declare a whopping £12,000 in private polling conducted in their constituencies by a rich friend.
The polling in Twickenham and the Wells constituency of Cable’s PPS Tessa Munt formed the cornerstone of a botched coup plot against Nick Clegg, in which surveys commissioned by the businessman Lord Oakeshott asked voters whether a change of leader could boost the party’s fortunes. Oakeshott later quit the party over the scandal.
The news comes as Cable is openly defying Nick Clegg over attempts to demote him from his post as the Lib Dems’ economics spokesman, telling MPs: “I actually remain as our economic spokesman”. And if that was too subtle for you, here’s the second sentence of a broadside against George Osborne posted on Lib Dem Voice this evening:
“Being in coalition means that we have to go out of our way to differentiate ourselves clearly from the Tories on the central issue of economic policy.
The Commissioner’s reports on Cable and Munt run to nearly 100 pages — and prompt some extremely awkward questions for the evasive pair in relation to the plot.
Why — for example — did Cable feel it necessary to take receipt of the toxic polling via his, errr, wife’s email account?