Talking about One Direction – or as he called them, ‘New’ Direction – Business Secretary Vince Cable made disparaging remarks about the lads’ earnings. Since then, though, and claiming he “misheard” the question, the politician has made further comments on the pop group.

One DirectionMinted - the One Direction lads

At a news conference in London yesterday he reportedly said: "I think it is mad that the members of the boy band New Direction made £5 million each last year. I think it is crazy that many of the footballers are routinely paid £10 million a year to play football." Later on, Cable said he was just agreeing with head of the Institute of Directors Simon Walker, and said he “misheard” the question, thinking it was about the unjustified chief executives’ pay. He also retracted his apparent criticism of the boy band, saying: "I don't want to attack One Direction, this is one particular group who are apparently very popular and very successful so I have nothing against them.” He added: "But there is a general issue of chief execs in particular who are paid well beyond what can be justified in terms of the performance of their companies, and that's something the government is now trying to address.”

Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, all aged between 19 and 21, did indeed make £5m each last year, and featured highly (as a band) on the young rich list. They are yet to comment on Cable’s words, but with that much money in the bank, they probably don’t even care.

Vince CableVince Cable - Is New Direction a better name anyway?