John Vincent Cable
, known as Vince Cable
(born 9 May 1943
politician, was the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats
until the election of Nick Clegg
. He is Member of Parliament
and has been the Liberal Democrats'
main economic spokesperson since 2003, having previously served as Chief Economist for the oil company Shell
from 1995 to 1997. He was elected as deputy leader
of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons in March, 2006. He was acting leader of the Liberal Democrats on the 15 October 2007
following Sir Menzies Campbell
's resignation, but announced soon after that he would not be a candidate in the leadership election
Early and personal life
Cable was born in York
and attended Nunthorpe Grammar School
. He went on to study Natural Sciences and Economics at Fitzwilliam College
and was elected President of the Cambridge Union
in 1965. He later received a PhD
from the University of Glasgow
where he subsequently lectured for a time in addition to having lectured London School of Economics
From 1966 to 1968 he was a Treasury Finance Officer to the Kenyan Government, and married Dr Olympia Rebelo; they subsequently had three children. Ms Rebelo died in 2001.
In the 1970s he was Special Advisor to John Smith when the latter was Industry Secretary. He became Chief Economist for Shell in 1995.
In 2004 he married Rachel Wenban Smith.
Cable has fought parliamentary seats for Labour, the SDP, and the Liberal Democrats.
He was a member of the Liberal Party at university, but joined the Labour Party after graduation. In 1970 he unsuccessfully fought Glasgow Hillhead for Labour, and later became a Glasgow councillor. In 1979 he sought the Labour nomination for Hampstead, losing to Ken Livingstone, who was also unsuccessful in taking the seat.
He left Labour for the Social Democratic Party in 1981. He was the SDP/Liberal Alliance candidate in his home city of York in both the 1983 and 1987 general elections. In 1992 he lost in his bid to unseat Conservative MP Toby Jessel, but won the seat of Twickenham at the 1997 General Election, and increased his majority in the elections of 2001 and 2005.
Cable contributed to the 2004 Orange Book and is identified with the economic liberal wing of the party. He believes that the Liberal Democrats should stand for "fairer taxes, not higher taxes", and many have seen this as a pitch for centre-right voters who did not support the Lib Dem's proposal at the 2005 general election to increase taxes on those earning over £100,000 (a policy which Cable himself is understood to be uncomfortable with).
Prior to the 2005 Liberal Democrat party conference, Cable suggested that the Lib Dems might form a coalition government with the Conservative Party in the event of a hung parliament at the next general election. Then party-leader Charles Kennedy dismissed the suggestion at the time, maintaining that the party will remain an "independent political force".
In late 2005/early 2006, Cable circulated a letter amongst his frontbench colleagues expressing a lack of confidence in the leadership of Charles Kennedy. Eleven out of the twenty-three frontbenchers co-signed the letter. On 5 January 2006, due to pressure from his frontbench team and an ITN News report documenting his alcoholism, Charles Kennedy announced a leadership election in which he pledged to stand for re-election. However he resigned on 7 January. Cable passed over the opportunity to run for the party leadership himself, instead supporting Sir Menzies Campbell's bid.
Speaking about the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB in fallout from the credit crunch in September 2008, Cable labelled the hedge funds which profit from short-selling as "masters of the universe".
Since being elected deputy leader in March 2006, Cable has continued to rise in status within the Party. He has also won plaudits for his repeated warnings and campaigns on the high level of personal debt
in Britain. His was a significant voice of criticism during the Northern Rock
crisis, calling for the nationalisation
of the bank, capitalising on the claimed indecisiveness of both the Labour Government and Conservative
opposition on the issue.
With the resignation of Menzies Campbell as party leader on 15 October 2007, Vincent Cable as Deputy Leader automatically succeeded him as party leader pending a leadership election. Asked on Channel Four News that day by Jon Snow whether he would be a candidate for the leadership, he refused to rule himself in or out at such an early stage, but a few days later ruled himself out.
Cable received significant acclaim during his tenure as acting party leader, with particular praise for his strong performances at Prime Minister's Questions. He was popular in the party and media for his attacks on the government's record over Northern Rock, HMRC's loss of 25 million individuals' child benefit data and the party funding scandal surrounding David Abrahams' secret donations to the Labour Party.
On a lighter note, Cable attracted positive media attention for a joke at PMQ's describing Gordon Brown's "remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean, creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos”, called by The Economist, "the single best line of Gordon Brown's premiership. This quip was prompted by the scandal about secret funding to the Labour Party. Cable - a keen ballroom dancer - also expressed his desire to appear on and win the BBC's hit TV show, Strictly Come Dancing.
- The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall; contributions by Vincent Cable and others (Profile Books, 2004) ISBN 1-86197-797-2
- Regulating Modern Capitalism (Centre for Reform Papers) Vincent Cable (Centre for Reform, 2002) ISBN 1-902622-36-7
- Commerce (Liberal Democrat Consultation Papers) Vincent Cable (Liberal Democrat Publications, 2002) ISBN 1-85187-688-X
- Globalization: Rules and Standards for the World Economy (Chatham House Papers) Vincent Cable, Albert Bressand (Thomson Learning, 2000) ISBN 1-85567-350-9
- Globalisation & Global Governance Vincent Cable (Thomson Learning, 1999) ISBN 0-8264-6169-7
- Preparing for EMU: A Liberal Democrat Response (Centre for Reform Papers) Vincent Cable (Centre for Reform, 1999) ISBN 1-902622-06-5
- China and India: Economic Reform and Global Integration Vincent Cable (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1995) ISBN 1-899658-00-9
- Global Superhighways: The Future of International Telecommunications Policy (International Economics Programme Special Paper) Vincent Cable, Catherine Distler (Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1995) ISBN 0-905031-97-0
- The World's New Fissures Vincent Cable (Demos, 1995) ISBN 1-898309-35-3
- Trade Blocs: The Future of Regional Integration edited by Vincent Cable and David Henderson (The Brookings Institution, 1994) ISBN 0-905031-81-4
- Commerce of Culture: Experience of Indian Handicrafts, Vincent Cable (Lancer International, 1990) ISBN 81-7062-004-X
- Developing with Foreign Investment edited by Vincent Cable and Bishnodat Persaud (Routledge, 1987) ISBN 0-7099-4825-5
- Economics and the Politics of Protection: Some Case Studies of Industries (World Bank Staff Working Papers Number 569) Vincent Cable (World Bank, 1984) ISBN 0-8213-0199-3
- Education and Social Action Programming for Cable: Conference Report edited by Vincent Thompson (Council for Educ. Technology, 1984) ISBN 0-86184-131-X
- World Textile Trade and Production Trends Vincent Cable, Betsy Baker (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1983) ISBN 0-86218-084-8
- Case Studies in Development Economics Vincent Cable (Heinemann Educ., 1982) ISBN 0-435-33937-0
- The Role of Handicrafts Exports: Problems and Prospects Based on Indian Experience (ODI Working Paper) Vincent Cable (Overseas Development Institute, 1982) ISBN 0-85003-086-2
- British Electronics and Competition with Newly Industrialising Countries Vincent Cable, Jeremy Clarke (Overseas Development Institute, 1981) ISBN 0-85003-076-5
- Evaluation of the Multifibre Arrangement and Negotiating Options Vincent Cable (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1981) ISBN 0-85092-204-6
- British Interests and Third World Development Vincent Cable (Overseas Development Institute, 1980) ISBN 0-85003-070-6
- Britain's Pattern of Specialization in Manufactured Goods With Developing Countries and Trade Protection (World Bank Staff Working Paper No 425/Oct 8) Vincent Cable, Ivonia Rebelo (World Bank, 1980) ISBN 0-686-36204-7
- World Textile Trade and Production Vincent Cable (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1979) ISBN 0-900351-85-3
- South Asia's Exports to the EEC: Obstacles and Opportunities Vincent Cable, Ann Weston (Overseas Development Institute, 1979) ISBN 0-85003-068-4
- World Textile Trade and Production Vincent Cable (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1979) ISBN B0000EGG8M
- Import Controls: The Case Against Vincent Cable (Fabian Society, 1977) ISBN 0-7163-1335-9
- Whither Kenyan Emigrants? Vincent Cable (Fabian Society, 1969) ISBN 0-7163-2018-5
- The Guardian, G2, Wednesday 20th February 2008.'The cult of Cable' by Michael White