Beecroft claims Vince Cable is a socialist who is 'unfit for office'

May 23, 2012
Ben Raworth

Downing Street adviser Adrian Beecroft Says Lib Dem business secretary 'does little to support business'

Peter Macdiarmid

VINCE CABLE is a socialist who "appears to do very little to support business", Adrian Beecroft claimed yesterday. The Downing Street adviser appeared to be getting his own back at the business secretary, who earlier this week dismissed Beecroft's proposals to make it easier to fire workers as "complete nonsense".

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Beecroft, who was asked to review employment law by Downing Street, said of Cable: "I think he is a socialist who found a home in the Lib Dems, so he's one of the Left.

"I think people find it very odd that he's in charge of business and yet appears to do very little to support business."

Beecroft also accused the Liberal Democrat leader and deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, of blocking reforms by issuing a "hollow threat" to "go nuclear" and bring down the government.

"Nick Clegg is always threatening to go nuclear and dissolve the whole thing if he doesn't get his way with this, that and the other," Beecroft said. "Which you'd think actually must be a hollow threat. Therefore, why can't the government be more robust? I don't know what the answer is. But it is disappointing."

Clegg responded to Beecroft in the Financial Times, saying: "The notion that you create jobs by spreading industrial scale insecurity and fear in the jobs market is one which, so far, is not supported by any evidence whatsoever."

The Guardian reports that Beecroft claims failure to introduce his plans could hold back economic growth by £50 billion, and that he was certain his ideas had the support of Prime Minister David Cameron.

"They assured me that David Cameron wanted to do the whole thing. Whether that's right or not I'm not sure, but that was the strong impression I got," Beecroft said, going on to describe tensions within the Coalition: "I've been in meetings with [Conservative minister] Oliver Letwin and [Lib Dem energy secretary] Ed Davey, where Oliver Letwin was all for and Ed Davey was totally against.

"And then there was a large argument which I'm told ended up in the 'quad' [the core Coalition leaders of Cameron, George Osborne, Clegg and Danny Alexander] when they're sort of trading off one policy against the other," he says.

Beecroft's report called for compensation to be capped at £12,000 for employees removed under the new dismissal scheme, which he claimed would make it more acceptable to employers and limit tribunal claims.

Downing Street has made clear that Cameron has not dismissed the proposal out of hand. A spokesman said the Prime Minister was weighing up options for making it easier for businesses to employ people and achieve growth, but was not "wedded" to any particular solution.

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