BRIGHTON - Vince Cable's leadership ambitions, if he has them, received a boost today after a poll revealed he was the most trusted cabinet minster among fellow Lib Dem MPs.
A Populus survey conducted for PR firm Edleman found that 57% of Lib Dems MPs voted the business secretary to be the most trustworthy member of the government.
Cable has made no secret of his wish to throw his hat into the ring once Nick Clegg steps down from the leadership of the party, and today's poll makes clear the support he enjoys in the Commons.
By contrast Clegg enjoys only half as much support (29%) as the "most trusted" amongst Liberal Democrat MPs.
Cable is set to address the Lib Dem conference in Brighton today, where he will announce the creation of a new business bank.
He will say: "I am working with the Chancellor to develop a state-backed institution that will combine up to a billion pounds of new government capital with a larger private sector contribution.
"This will then apply further leverage through guarantees to support up to ten billion pounds of finance to SMEs and mid-sized business."
Sources close to the business secretary stressed that the bank was a long term plan to stimulate the economy and described it as a "big win for Vince". Cable will tell Lib Dem activists on Monday that the bank is part of a plan to "fight the British curse of short-termism".
Another statistic from the Populus poll that will endear him to the Lib Dem grassroots is the unsurprising finding that he is seen as the least trusted cabinet member by Conservative MPs - 60% of whom said he was their least trusted Liberal Democrat in the cabinet.
But there is bad news for the Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who is the most trusted Lib Dem by Tory MPs, with 34% of them expressing their support.
While that number may be good for coalition unity at the top, it is an awkward finding for the chief secretary the day after he was described by one Lib Dem delegate in Brighton as "more right-wing than George Osborne".
The second most popular response amongst Conservative MPs, to the question, ‘Which Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister do you most trust to do the right thing’ was ‘None of them’ on 17%.
Lib Dem MPs said George Osborne and former health secretary Andrew Lansley as the Conservative Cabinet Members they least trust to do the right thing.
Related on HuffPost:
<strong>Current Job:</strong> Looking for a job <strong>Pro:</strong> Narrowly lost the last leadership race against Clegg <strong>Con:</strong> That is a picture of him arriving at court
<b>Current Job:</b> Appearing on TV to NOT talk about *that* court case. <b>Pro:</b> She is a world class economist and has made no secret of her political ambitions <b>Con:</b> Had a spot of bother with someone driving a tad fast
<strong>Current Job:</strong> Party president and 'differentiator' in chief <strong>Pro:</strong> Makes really good jokes <strong>Con:</strong> A bit of a joke
<strong>Current Job: </strong> Being popular <strong>Pro: </strong>He is popular (with people) <strong>Con:</strong> But he is not popular (with Lib Dem MPs)
Current Job: Energy secretary Pro: Could sneak up through the middle (see: John Major) Con: Who?
<strong>Current Job:</strong> Texting Ed Miliband Pro: Popular with the left of the party and Labour Con: Tory business minister Michael Fallon is under orders to assassinate him if he makes any moves against Clegg
<strong>Current Job: </strong> Turning down jobs Pro: Free of the coalition dirt Con: Missed his chance?
<strong>Current Job:</strong> Trying to break the Lib Dem glass ceiling <strong>Pro: </strong>Would be the party's first female leader <strong>Con: </strong> The Lib Dems strangely do not have a great record on promoting women
<strong>Current Job: </strong> Hanging out with Hugh Grant <strong>Pro: </strong> Lost his seat so is untainted by Tory germs <strong>Con: </strong> The Sun would monster him
<strong>Current Job: </strong> Mr Swinson <strong>Pro: </strong> Up. And. Coming. <strong>Con</strong> Would have to fight his wife for the job