Vince Cable has said he would probably make a good chancellor of the exchequer but is not "pushing" to take the job away from George Osborne.
Speculation about the chancellor's future has grown following yesterday's shock news of a 0.7% fall in GDP, much greater than the 0.2% contraction originally forecast.
In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme on Wednesday evening, the Lib Dem business secretary said that while the figures were disappointing "nobody was suggesting we change the arrangements" over who held what job in the Cabinet.
Earlier in the day Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott had called for Osborne to be sacked and replaced with his old friend Cable.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's World at One, Lord Oakeshott said: "George Osborne has got no business experience.
"He has never worked outside politics. He is doing surprisingly well for a chancellor on work experience. But really in a torrid time like this I think we do need absolutely the best people available."
Asked if he wanted to see changes in the coalition's Treasury team, he said: "When we started in government we had three Liberal Democrat Cabinet ministers out of five, Vince Cable, Chris Huhne, David Laws, all of whom were acknowledged economic experts with lots of business experience.
"At the moment we have only got Vince in there now. But I would hope at the next reshuffle, if David Laws and Chris Huhne were available, hopefully that they, with Vince, could be very much at the heart of economic policy-making."
He said "personally" he would like Cable to take over as chancellor.
But Cable played down the suggestion that he was eying up a move to No 11 Downing Street, telling Newsnight: " Lord Oakeshott is a good friend but I don't agre with him on everything."
The business secretary was asked: "You don't agree you would make a good chancellor?
Cable replied: "I probably woud, but George Osborne is doing a job, we are doing it well, together as a team."
Pressed on the matter this morning on the BBC's Today programme, Cable insisted he was "not pushing for the job" of chancellor.
"We are part of a team, we have collectively agreed policy and I am delivering on my bit of it which centres on industrial strategy," he said. "My observation is, like me, he [Osborne] works very hard."
Osborne has also been criticised for not focusing all his attention on the economy as he also plays a significant role in shaping Tory electoral strategy, causing Labour to dub him the "part time chancellor".
However Cable said grumblings about Osborne splitting his time was unfair "carping".
"We all contribute in a collective way to the overall responsibilities of government," he said. "He's not doing two jobs. We both work hard and we both work full time on what we are supposed to be doing."
While there is some unhappiness with Osborne's job performance, including on the Tory benches, it is thought unlikely that David Cameron would sack him.
The two men are close political allies as well as friends, they are god fathers to each other's children, and moving the chancellor out of the Treasury would be a admission that the economic strategy is not working.
It is also unlikely that Cameron would want to cede the second most important job in Cabinet to a Lib Dem.
Nadine Dorries MP