Tuesday, 22 June 2010

“This Reckless Tory Budget would not have been possible without the Liberal Democrats”

I managed to find a seat in the Chamber earlier, but it was next to the Liberal Democrats, and one or two colleagues caught my eye as Labour's acting leader, Harriet Harman, trotted out the above line of attack.

I first met George Osborne twenty years ago during freshers' week at university, so I did a little bit of a double take today as I saw him walk into the Chamber, have the Prime Minister pour him a drink, and then launch into the most important budget statement for a generation.

George seems to have grown into the role of Chancellor very quickly. As well as being politically sensitive and astute, I feel that he delivered just about the best economic package he could, given the mess which he has been left to clear up.

Only halving the deficit over five years, as Labour proposed, was never a serious plan, because investors would not have lent us the money at a price we could afford. We will eliminate the current structural budget deficit over the course of the Parliament to restore confidence in our credit, our currency and our country.

Harriet Harman is right. This Budget would not have been possible without, at a minimum, Liberal Democrat acquiescence. It is surely better though - however much Harriet Harman dislikes it – to have Liberal Democrats and Conservatives actively working together to clear up the mess which Labour have left behind.

We are all in it together. Today's Budget sets out, not Conservative cuts, but the best efforts of our national coalition to put our country back on track.


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