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‘Meeting? What meeting? I wasn’t there!’ Vince Cable forgets key growth committee

30 October 2012

Business Secretary Vince Cable bewildered a select committee this morning by telling members that a new sub-committee, the Growth Implementation Committee, was yet to meet, before later backtracking and announcing that it had in fact met twice.

When asked by Labour MP Anne McKechin why the much-lauded new sub-committee, which was launched in September, had not yet had a meeting, Cable replied: ‘I can’t tell you why that committee has not been convened yet’ but that he would endeavour to find out. Later in the meeting however, Cable appeared to retract his previous statement, saying that he wanted to ‘correct the record’, as he earlier ‘couldn’t recall meetings of the committee. There were in fact two,’ he added, ‘on September 18 and October 22, so that committee is operating and has met.’


As deputy chair of the new sub-committee, it’s surprising that Cable couldn’t recall the group ever having met – particularly as the records state that the most recent meeting appears to have taken place just last week. But the growth committee itself seems to have shrouded itself in secrecy. Just yesterday LabourList ran an article about it wondering, as McKechin wondered in the committee meeting today, why the new sub-committee hadn’t yet met. As Cable eventually remembered, the sub-committee has apparently now met twice. However, a membership list still hasn’t been released, with Scottish Secretary Michael Moore saying two weeks ago in response to a parliamentary question that details of members have ‘not yet been confirmed’. The plot thickens. What the Treasury spinners have told us (via Twitter), is that ‘ministers for housing, planning, broadband, skills etc’ were also present at the meetings.

This morning’s meeting also stirred up tension between  Martin Donnelly, the department’s Permanent Secretary, and Tory MP Brian Binley. Binley raised the issue of the poor results of the BIS staff survey which, he claimed, ‘makes quite depressing reading’, adding ‘if that were my company, I would be deeply worried’. Donnelly’s excuse, about outdated figures, failed to mollify the MP. ‘I’m not going to listen to civil servant waffle’, was Binley’s pithy retort.

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  • Widmerpool

    Poor old Vince I It seems even Hesser has more of his marbles than our Non Industry Sec.

    Time for a change with a more youthful and pro business person leading this department!

  • 2trueblue

    And this man is…………
    For goodness sake get rid of him.

  • HooksLaw

    For all the good it does the BIS could be abolished. A department that lines up to applaud Mandelson is in dire need of reform.

  • Torontory

    Poor chap is 70 next birthday – think we should all be generous and give him a break.

  • Douglas Carter

    Silly old codger.

    That kind of forgetfulness is the first sign of..


    • telemachus

      What it shows is the importance the coalition gives to growth

      • dorothy wilson

        It might actually show the importance the coalition gives to Cable and indicate that they simply forgot to invite him.

      • HooksLaw

        What, by having a committee dedicated to it?

        • telemachus

          Irony son
          Shows window dressing that even the Business secretary forgets
          On the other hand I know a build for growth chap

      • telekuka

        Have you got a corn on your toe?

      • telekuka


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