Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled new plans to ring-fence Vince Cable in order to keep the activities of the Business Secretary separate from those of the rest of the coalition government.
The new scheme, aimed at preventing the Lib Dem MP from humiliating the government any further, will see him placed in the corner of a small Downing Street office with a fence erected around him to stop him from wandering off into potentially embarrassing situations. It is hoped that this will help him to avoid accidentally giving damaging interviews or publicly disagreeing with policies.
There will not be a telephone within the new Cable enclosure and the Business Secretary will only be allowed toilet breaks at scheduled times, accompanied by a junior member of staff to ensure he doesn't speak to anybody. It is thought that this role will be given to Nick Clegg. He will instead be kept occupied by being given financial reports and draft policies to read, while repeatedly tutting and shaking his head in dismay.
Labour leader Ed Milliband has strongly criticised the idea, even before it was actually explained to him, and called for a re-think.
‘I don’t know what this new policy is, I haven’t seen it, but I’m absolutely convinced that, whatever it is, it is not the right way to go about things. It is surely not what the public want, does not make economic sense, and is not a viable long term solution.’
George Osborne, when asked to respond to Milliband’s criticism, said “Ed who? Do you mean Ed Balls? No? Sorry, name doesn't ring a bell.”.