Cable gets in twist over meetings he could not remember

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Vince Cable caused confusion when he wrongly told MPs that a new committee to promote economic growth had not yet held any meetings – even though he was at two of them.

The Business Secretary, vice chair of the Growth Implementation Committee, was forced to correct his evidence after saying: “I can’t tell you why that committee has not been convened yet.”

The Cabinet committee, set up by Prime Minister David Cameron two months ago, met on September 18 and October 22.

But the Liberal Democrat minister got into a muddle when Labour MP Ann McKechin asked if rumours were true that it had never met. And having made his blunder he then tried to play down the committee’s importance.

“I don’t think anybody in government or anywhere else would imagine that Cabinet committees drive economic growth – it’s there to take check and hold government departments accountable for delivering on those things they’ve agreed to do,” he said.

“It’s an important part of the machinery of government but it doesn’t drive economic growth. But it’s a fair question and I will endeavour to find out why this group has not met.”

Later before the same committee, Mr Cable said he needed to “correct the record” and confirmed that it had met twice, which was later confirmed by Downing Street

The Business Secretary also told the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee that he was “very concerned” about problems in the construction industry and warned the MPs not to get “carried away” with the latest growth figures for the economy.