COUNCIL chiefs have rejected a call for York-born Sir Vince Cable to be awarded the Freedom of the City.

City of York Council said group leaders had unanimously decided the former Business Secretary and Liberal Democrat party leader did not meet their criteria for a ‘relatively rare and exceptional honour.’

It said they felt a street could instead be ‘named or numbered’ after him in recognition of his accomplishments, and this would now be referred to the appropriate authorities for proper consideration.

But a spokesman for LibDem council leader Keith Aspden said he had backed the call but other group leaders hadn’t, and Labour leader Danny Myers indicated he opposed it, ‘given Mr Cable’s role in a National Coalition Government of incomparable austerity measures.’

But Keith Massey, of Bishopthorpe, who applied for Sir Vince to be given the honour, said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by the decision.

He said he was not a Liberal Democrat but he believed Sir Vince deserved recognition, along with the York state schools - Poppleton Road and Nunthorpe Grammar - and teachers who had set him up for success.

He said: “Vince Cable is a son of York and has had an outstanding career as an economist and politician at the highest level. He is credited in November 2003 for his judgement and foresight about the impending global financial crisis of 2007-2010.”

He said Sir Vince had warned the then Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2003 that the growth of the British economy was being sustained by consumer spending pinned against record levels of personal debt.

Mr Massey, 75, who said he went to the same primary school as Sir Vince but in the year below him, said Sir Vince had also had a distinguished career as an economist.

He also believed such decisions should not be made by group leaders but by full council, or a politically independent committee with no risk of possible political jealousies playing a part.

Cllr Aspden said that although ‘there was not unanimous support’ for the application, ‘York-born Sir Vince Cable will always be welcome here in his home city.’

A spokesman said Cllr Aspden had supported the application but other group leaders had not, and unanimous agreement was needed.

Cllr Aspden said:“Given Vince’s strong history with York, and his successful career on the national stage, particularly as Business Secretary encouraging the development of York Central, I am pleased that we will consider a new street being named after Vince to recognise his affinity with the city.”

Labour group leader Danny Myers said only in exceptional cases should the granting of the freedom of the City be considered, and it should recognise outstanding achievement from across the board without dissenting voices. “Unfortunately, given Mr Cable’s role in a National Coalition Government of incomparable austerity measures that impacted upon millions of people and thousands in this city, I don’t believe he should be considered for such an accolade.” Sir Vince was unavailable for comment.