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Paul Johnson, director of the IFS [Image: BBC].

Paul Johnson, director of the IFS [Image: BBC].

Oh dear, oh dear! The Tories are in trouble over another campaign offering!

This time it’s a video, not a poster – featuring the voice of Paul Johnson, head of the Institute of Fiscal Studies thinktank, apparently criticising the Labour Party’s plans for the economy.

The recordings quote Mr Johnson as saying “borrowing would be higher under a Labour government… the debt would be higher…. you’ve got more risk with the public finances”.

But the gentleman concerned, who has been described as “the mild mannered nerd who might decide the election”, has said his comments have been taken out of context.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Mr Johnson said the quotes were made up of “small clips from a much broader and obviously much more balanced interview that I gave”.

He said it was a “shame when words are taken in a particular context”.

He also said he “was a bit surprised and wasn’t given any warning” that his voice would feature in the advert.

Asked whether he would like the video taken off YouTube, Mr Johnson said: “Yes I would like it removed,” – but added that he found the film “quite funny”.

Here it is:

As at 9.30pm on January 21, the Conservative Party is defiantly refusing to take the video down.

A spokesman said: “Paul Johnson is perfectly clear that Labour’s economic offering would mean higher borrowing and more debt and that, in turn, creates more risk with the public finances. And that was exactly the point we were making. Voters will decide if they want that or not.”

For a more balanced report of Mr Johnson’s words, visit this Vox Political article.

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