The business secretary, Vince Cable, has refused to apologise over the government’s privatisation of Royal Mail, despite a scathing report from the National Audit Office, which said undervaluing the share sale had cost the taxpayer £750m in a single day.
In a lively debate in the House of Commons, Cable defended the controversial float last October, after coming under fire from the shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, and other MPs. "The last thing I intend to do is apologise," Cable said. He insisted that the privatisation had been a success and that there had been a real risk that the flotation could have failed if the shares had been priced higher.
"We’ve taken a loss-making public enterprise and turned it into a successful public company," he added. He accused Labour itself of selling state assets off on the cheap.