The Liberal Democrats have sought to pour water on reports that naked photographs of Sir Vince Cable in the bath have been leaked.

A source close to the party’s leader said if the pictures existed voters would draw similarities between the 74-year-old and wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, who wrote his speeches in the bath.

The photographs of Sir Vince were reportedly sent to a party member after his wife – who is said to have taken them – sent the pictures to be printed. The Times reported that a “combination of the photographic angle and bubbles” meant “the right honourable member is obscured below the water”.

Sir Vince Cable with his wife RachelSir Vince Cable with his wife Rachel (John Stillwell/PA)

A source told the Press Association: “Winston Churchill famously wrote his speeches in the bath, so if there is a picture in existence of Vince floating around in the bath it will remind voters that the Liberal Democrats have such a great and good leader.”

Aides for Sir Vince, who is due to deliver his first keynote address as leader at the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth later on Tuesday, told reporters that a decision on what music to play when he steps on stage was yet to be made. They said the leader had wanted Adele’s Skyfall, until it was pointed out that the opening lyrics are: “This is the end.”

Sir Vince replaced Tim Farron as leader of the Lib Dems in July – becoming the oldest leader in the party’s history.