Will he, won’t he? Cable dabbles in chancellor speculation

Vince Cable denied he was pushing for the chancellor's job today, despite pointedly saying he would be good at it last night.

The business secretary raised eyebrows on Newsnight when he said he would "probably" do a good job of being chancellor, just hours after official figures showed the UK was in an even deeper recession that previously thought.

But speaking to the Today programme this morning, Cable was careful to defend George Osborne.

"I am not pushing for the job. We are part of a team," he said.

"I am not proposing a radically different approach."

If he did get the job he would be "building on what George Osborne has already achieved", he added.

The business secretary also went out of his way to defend Osborne against claims he cannot hold down the post of chancellor and Tory political strategist at the same time.

"I think that's carping a little bit. My observation is that, like me, he works very hard," he said.

"He's not doing two jobs. We all contribute in a collective way to the overall business of government."

Observers expect a major Cabinet reshuffle towards the end of the summer, with many demanding Osborne lose one of his jobs.

That would be an unlikely development for David Cameron's main ally in government. The prime minister would also balk at the impact moving Osborne from the Treasury would have on the markets.