That’ll be the end of George Osborne’s dream of leading the Tories, then.
As predicted, the Chancellor didn’t turn up to answer an Urgent Question in Parliament about how he’ll balance his Budget, now that the changes to Personal Independence Payments aren’t taking place. It leaves £1.3 billion per year to be found.
Instead, Treasury minister David Gauke turned up and refused to answer any questions about the black hole in the Finance Bill – a hole totalling £4.4 billion by the end of the current Parliament.
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, said Osborne’s refusal to appear was an insult to Parliament.
He said an enormous hole had appeared in the Budget within five days of its announcement, leaving the whole process in chaos.
Shouldn’t the Chancellor rip it up and start again?
And he wanted a reassurance that there would be no further cuts to disability benefits for the life of this Parliament.
Gauke had nothing but platitudes in response – and many of his statements were wrong.
He said child poverty has decreased. It has risen.
He said the proportion of tax paid by the richest one per cent had increased. But has it increased in real terms?
He said nothing about where the government was going to find £4.4 billion by the end of the Parliament.
So Labour MPs piled on the humiliation while a notably low number of Tories stood up to defend their absentee Chancellor.
George Howarth noted that Harold Wilson once said a week in politics was a long time. He asked, how long does a long-term economic plan last? Three days? Four?
Yvette Cooper asked where the revised Budget scorecard is, and added that Osborne is not fit to be Chancellor if he can’t respond to an Urgent Question.
Osborne’s absence was also highlighted in the social media. “George Osborne. The elephant not in the room,” tweeted Michael Deacon.
Back in the Chamber, Chris Leslie was asking how MPs could possibly be expected to vote on the Budget if the numbers were being re-written.
Again, Gauke had no answer.
He tried to say spending on disabled people had increased, but everybody already knows this is because, while more people are receiving benefit, they are being given much less money.
On Twitter, Fwestivus added: “Disability benefits spending has increased? Oh like assessments costing £600m more than they save and spending the rest fighting appeals?”
After 45 minutes of debate – half as much again as was scheduled, we had no explanation of how the £4.4bn black hole will be filled, and no confirmation it won’t come from elsewhere in the DWP budget.
We can only conclude that the Tories don’t know what they’re going to do.
When can we have our ‘no confidence’ motion?
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yes Corbyn must call a vote of no confidence.
They are a danger to British society the sooner we have a vote of no confidence the better for us all, we can all move on and start living again, not under this dire cloud of doom and insecurity.
The tories claim to be the party of fiscal competence, clearly they hadn’t met Gideon osborne when they came up with that claim.
You could almost put it to music,Aztec Camera,”Rip it up and start again,I said rip it up and start again…” or The Moody Blues,”Say you’ve gotta go, oh you better go now,go now go now…” or Question,”Why do we never get an answer when we’re knocking at your door…..”
perfection in music but not the deluded tory party.
‘Have you heard’ of the most recent idea where musicians and bands etc will raise funding for the charity called crisis????
Corbyn, should’ve gone for the jugular today, but for some reason he let Cameron of the hook. The only labour MP who spoke with any authority was Yvette Cooper, and she’s a Blairite, is this another chance lost by the Labour party?
I’m not sure if I am going to bother watching any more Commons stuff, because it seems to follow the same format all the time, Labour asks a question and all the Tories can do is non-answer and then throw in a few insults for good measure. Coming from you Mike, the ‘no-confidence’ comment means something.
Would it be wrong to accuse Osborne of cowardice?
What sort of government can’t run a budget properly?
That song has been done before:-
Originally for Winston Churchill and Rab Butler, it was updated for Wilson & Healy, and I’m sure Messrs Flanders & Swann would be delighted if someone were to do so again.
A vote of no confidence should be done now!