By Ray Fleming

IT'S difficult to know which is worse -- Vince Cable's failure to resign after bragging to an undercover reporter he did not know that he was at war with Rupert Murdoch, or David Cameron's failure to dismiss him from the Cabinet for doing so. Ultimately it is the prime minister who must take the greater share of blame for missing the opportunity to demonstrate that only the highest standards will do for ministerial office -- and for compounding that error by a fudge that takes away part of Mr Cable's responsibilities but still leaves him in charge of many important areas of government business, including bankers' bonuses which will need strong handling that he may no longer be able to show. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, cannot escape responsibility either since it has to be assumed that he argued strongly for Mr Cable's retention. It is rather remarkable that this matter has to be debated at all. Almost all the precedents point to the necessity of a senior minister resigning in the wake of a blunder such as that made by VInce Cable, especially when it touched on his probity in a controversial pending decision. It is being said that the future of the LibCon coalition depended on his retention in office but if that is really the case the conclusion must be that the coalition is built on very shaky ground indeed.


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