Lib Dem discontent lingers as Vince Cable denies knowledge of damaging poll

Business Secretary Vince Cable has pledged his support to party leader Nick Clegg, and said that he knew nothing about a damaging poll in Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency.

During a trip to China, Cable condemned the poll. Speaking to the BBC, he said he knew nothing about it until he saw it in the newspapers.

The poll, conducted by ICM, indicated that Clegg could stand to lose his seat at the next general election. It was one of several polls commissioned by Lib Dem Peer Lord Oakeshott.

Lord Oakeshott, reputedly a close ally of Vince Cable, resigned on Wednesday after the news was made public.

Though Cable denies knowledge of the Sheffield Hallam poll, and another in Inverness, the constituency of Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, he has admitted he knew that Lord Oakeshott had commissioned polls in other areas.

But Lord Oakeshott has said that is not the case, and that he informed Cable of the results of the poll several weeks ago.

In a separate interview this morning, Clegg said that Cable “clearly didn’t know a thing” about the Sheffield Hallam poll.

In-fighting within the liberal democrats has intensified since the party’s dismal European Election results, and calls for Clegg to step down as leader have gathered some strength.

But Cable reiterated his support for Clegg today, telling the BBC: “There is no leadership issue. We have a united team.”

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