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Cable denies Chancellor ambitions

Business Secretary Vince Cable has denied that he is pushing to be made Chancellor as David Cameron faces a call from one of his own backbenchers to move George Osborne out of the Treasury.

Mr Cable sparked speculation over his ambitions when he told BBC2's Newsnight on Wednesday night that he would "probably" make a good chancellor. But the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary has insisted that he was working in a team with Mr Osborne and did not have a "radically different" agenda for the economy from the Tory Chancellor.

The Chancellor has come under increasing pressure after growth figures on Wednesday which showed Britain slipping deeper into recession, with gross domestic product (GDP) shrinking by 0.7% between April and June.

Mr Cameron acknowledged that the figures were "very disappointing" and said more needed to be done to stimulate growth by attracting inward investment and supporting infrastructure development.

But Mr Osborne received a strong endorsement from the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria, who urged him to "persevere" with his deficit-reduction strategy and "stay the course".

But dissatisfaction on the Conservative backbenches with Mr Osborne's performance broke into the open as Nadine Dorries said in a tweet: "For the sake of country and Conservative party, most trusted politician in UK, William Hague, needs to become Chancellor."

Asked if he wanted to be Chancellor, Mr Cable told Today: "I am not pushing for the job. We are part of a team. We have a collective agreed policy and I am delivering on my bit of it, which centres on the area of industrial strategy. I am not proposing a radically different approach."

Mr Cable defended Mr Osborne from the Labour charge that he is a "part-time Chancellor" because of his other job, planning Tory strategy for the next election. "I am a full-time Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and I do work full time at the jobs that I do, and I know that he does as well. My observation is that, like me, he works very hard."

Mr Cameron said it would take time for Britain to recover from debt and the financial crisis, but said the Government was rolling up its sleeves to promote business. At an international conference at Lancaster House on Thursday, he will encourage business leaders and policy-makers who are in London for the Olympics to invest in the UK.

The Prime Minister told BBC1's Breakfast: "They are very disappointing figures and there is no doubt about that. I think one of the things they show is the extent of damage that was done to the economy in the boom and bust years. It takes time to recover from that but we have got to do more. We will roll up our sleeves and do everything possible to get business going in Britain, to get housing going and get jobs going."

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