Vince Cable is in trouble after two West London business leaders referred him to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary over an apparent breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. The chief executives of West London Business and the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce have written to the PM and Jeremy Heywood after Cable was listed as a speaker at an anti-Heathrow expansion rally in his capacity as Business Secretary:
We are very concerned that the Secretary of State appears to be attending the rally in an official capacity, on behalf of the Government, rather than as constituency Member. This appears to be in direct contravention of Section 1.2 (h) of the Ministerial Code, which states:
“Ministers in the House of Commons must keep separate their roles as Minister and constituency Member”
This activity may also breach other parts of the code, including section 6.5 which urges Ministers to “make clear that they are acting as their constituents’ representative and not as a Minister”.
It is a little naughty of Cable to speak out on Heathrow expansion not as a local MP, but supposedly representing the government. Not like he has form either: this is the same Vince Cable who“declared war” on Murdoch when in charge of media policy. That time he humiliatingly had the brief stripped from him…
UPDATE: Sources close to Vince Cable get in touch to say the mistake was the fault of the organisers of the event. As soon as it came to his attention it was corrected.