Clegg Defends Cable Over Undervaluing Of Royal Mail
Friday 11th July 2014
Nick Clegg insisted that Vince Cable had no way of knowning the Royal Mail sale had been undervalued.
A panel of MPs has accused the Business Secretary of underestimating the demand for shares and losing tax payers £1billion.
But the Deputy Prime Minister has told LBC he thinks the right decision was made at the time.
"I'm going to continue to defend Vince because I think what you're
seeing is a lot of wisdom with hindsight. The suggestion somehow that
Vince should have known what was going to happen," he commented.
"Share prices gyrate wildly and in fact the Royal Mail's share prices have gyrated wildly and I suspect will continue to do so by the way. There has been a 25% drop in the share price.
"The idea that Vince Cable, wise though he is should be a soothsayer and should have been able to predict that I think... and by the way, what he's done in the process, he has given thousands of people working in the Royal Mail a stake in it, he has given millions of people the guarantee that the universal postal provision six days of the week will be provided across the whole of the country and, crucially, he's ensured that future taxpayers won't be on the hook for billions of pounds of further subsidies to the Royal Mail, which was the case in the past."
Cable has described the rise in share prices as 'froth' but the panel said it was "ridiculous" to call it that.
"The panel of MPs, with all respect to those MPs, have also made suggestions in that report which are just factually wrong, just plain wrong. They've for instance said that Vince should be able to publish exactly which investors have bought what and so on and so forth, the Government doesn't have that information."
Nick Clegg however refused to get drawn into a bet with LBC's Nick Ferrari - who said he would pay the Deputy PM's morgage if the share price went below 330 in the next three years.
"Listen, I know the danger of your bets," he said, laughing.
"Boris Johnson is to be
experimented on by a water cannon - which I
hear apparently he's got now - so I'm not going to make the same Boris
Johnson water cannon mistake."