A humbled and diminished Vince Cable was tonight allowed to cling on to his cabinet post as business secretary, but was stripped of all responsibility for media policy after it emerged he had told undercover reporters that he had "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch over the media magnate's plans to take over all of BSkyB.
Cable's reckless claims, in a secretly recorded conversation, were considered a flagrant breach of his duty to take a quasi-judicial approach to the proposed takeover, and were declared "totally unacceptable and inappropriate" by Downing Street. Many had expected an angry David Cameron to sack Cable or transfer him to a lesser cabinet role.
But instead the business secretary was hauled in front of his party leader, Nick Clegg, and then Cameron. After a series of emergency meetings, which included George Osborne, the chancellor, Clegg felt he could not afford to lose the second most senior Liberal Democrat from the government.
The cracks are getting larger and Vince might have achieved his goal. A general election looks all that more likely now, come the new year.