Cable forces Tory U-turn on workers' rights
Moves to give companies sweeping powers to dismiss under-performing employees are set to be abandoned by David Cameron following a bitter Coalition split over the issue.
The Prime Minister risks a new row with the Conservative right by accepting that plans to allow employers to "fire at will" cannot be forced through in the face of Liberal Democrat resistance.
Conservative Cabinet ministers are arguing for the Government to take an axe to employment law which they argue is helping to choke off economic growth and job creation. A report commissioned by Downing Street by the venture capitalist – and Tory donor – Adrian Beecroft recommended allowing companies to sack staff whose performance it considered to be poor.
But the proposals have run into entrenched opposition from Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and fellow Liberal Democrat ministers.Vince Cable, of course is right. I would not be against very small business being allowed more exemptions from employment law - yesterday evening's Newsnight suggested that a deal had been done over moves in this direction.
And I would not be against the Lib Dems being associated with such a move. We badly to re-establish in the public mind the notion that Liberals are on the side of the individual and small businesses. And I do suspect that the law can make unrealistic demands of such businesses.
More making workers feel less secure will do nothing to restore economic confidence, which is one of our great needs at the moment.
The irony is that Vince Cable is doing David Cameron a great favour. The last thing Cameron needs to do at present is convince more voters that he cares nothing for their lives or interests because he is on the side on the wealthy.
It was suggested at the time the Coalition was established that Cameron was a master strategist. He had recognised that the Tories great weakness was the demise of their moderate wing and had recruited the Liberal Democrats to act as its replacement.
After a couple of years of Cameron as prime minister we are more inclined to believe that any master strokes he comes up with are inadvertent, but I still think there was something in this.