The GuardianThe Guardian

‘You have to be thick-skinned’: What is it like to lose the status of a top job?

By Michael Segalov

25 Oct 2022 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

When titles we have held are suddenly stripped away and consigned to the past, it can feel a little disorienting; exposing. How do we begin to navigate that?

On the evening of 7 May 2015, Vince Cable watched coverage of the general election at home. For more than two decades, he had been a Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham; since 2010, a member of the cabinet, too. In the coalition government he was a long-serving business secretary, president of the board of trade and a privy councillor. Cable ran a constituency office, one in parliament and a major Whitehall department. He was responsible for thousands of staffers, plus a whole host of junior ministers.

Then, quite suddenly, he was not.

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