C4/Sky Live Leaders Interviews Next Thursday

Guido hears that both the PM and Ed Miliband are in for the Paxo/Kay Burley grilling next Thursday (26 March).

Live 90 min show, 9pm on Sky and Channel 4. Location TBC.

Speaker Watch: Bad Bercow’s Jesse Norman Low Blow

The Speaker has been behaving with almost perfect professionalism all this year. He knows his moment of mortal danger is approaching and is palliating his enemies in the House. But Bad Bercow can’t be kept down. He looked around the chamber this afternoon and saw his old enemy Jesse Norman (No. 14 on the order paper) not in his place. So very early, and well out of the running order, he called him. “Jesse Norman!” Nothing. “Jesse NORMAN! Is he not here?” He wasn’t going to take the chance that Norman had been momentarily delayed and would be in shortly.

Norman was a moving spirit of the Governance committee that humiliated Bercow in the fiasco of the new clerk’s appointment. “Got him!” Bercow would have thought.

The rush of applause that greeted Lindsay Hoyle taking the chair for the Budget debate shows that there is a popular contender for the position. A candidate makes the difference. Although Bercow seems to be carrying all before him, it is still possible to hope.

UPDATE: Guido understands that Norman was slightly delayed by a bicycle puncture.

Ed Miliband: “Here’s the Thing”

What is it Ed? What is “the thing”?

Budget Day Sketch: Our Salad Days Lie Ahead

Runners-up for best Miliband joke: The prime minister’s: “He threw the kitchen sinks at the NHS and that didn’t work.” (Groans.) Balls wants to be in his kitchen cabinet but doesn’t know which one. (Groans.) “He literally doesn’t know where his next meal’s coming from.” (Laughter). Then Osborne (ref fast broadband): “So should someone have two kitchens, they will be able to control both fridges from the same mobile phone.” (Overwhelming laughter with stifled snorts from Labour.) But the winner, one of the few tax planning jokes to achieve a popular reaction: George Osborne said he’s reworking the legal basis for a Deed of Variation (Tory delight) and in the autumn will be consulting the leader of the opposition “if the party opposite hasn’t executed its own deed of variation by then.” (Fatter Tories straining at the seams.) “We liked that,” A Labour MP said. “It showed just how nasty Osborne is.”

The Long Term Economic Plan was the most daring plan when it was published – and its most devout supporters thought it was going to need some inspired statisticians to make it look as though it was working.

But it’s a rout.

All those things the PM says about jobs, growth, the deficit – you need to overwork your confirmation bias to argue against them.

So, Ed Miliband re-ran his greatest hits – and just kept running into the prime minister’s clunking fist. Why hadn’t he kept his promises on A&E waiting times? Why did he close hospitals? Why are cancer targets being missed? We know that some of these targets are being missed but many by tiny amounts. We know too that Labour closed hospitals. And that the Tories have spent more than Labour on health. The picture of medieval misery that Miliband sees in his Rorschach test is hard to share. And when he says, “Why on earth should anyone believe him?” some of us think: “Wasn’t that Iain Duncan Smith’s line?”

“A budget that no one will believe,” he said later.

Maybe parts of it will be contested, maybe there’ll be a pasty in it. But the previous leadership line was that state spending was going back to level of the Great Depression. Osborne said that state spending would stabilize at the level of 2001. That was when Gordon Brown was the greatest chancellor in the world (an active lefty sticking to Tory spending limits).

So, the impossible has been achieved. It used to be about jam tomorrow. Now, heady with its success, the Tory leadership is suggesting no jam at all. The budget plan says: “If you refrain from having this doughnut now, you can have a very large tuna salad in five years time.” No wonder Labour is less downcast than it ought to be.

Official: Rich Hit Hardest Under Osborne

Another bash the rich budget from the Chancellor…

Theresa May’s Busty Budget Cleavage Divides Internet

How naughty of some social media users not to focus on George Osborne and his Long Term Economic Plan, rather debate the relative merits of Theresa May’s cleavage:

Even Edwina Currie got in on the action:

But the BBC coverage hardly helped matters, constantly panning the camera toward the Home Secretary. This is unedited footage:

We report, you decide…

Budget 2015: As It Happens

bbc2

The headline announcements:

  • The end of the tax return
  • Fuel duty frozen
  • Personal allowance increased to £11,000
  • New £1,000 personal savings allowance
  • Help to Buy ISAs
  • Tax avoidance and evasion measures to raise £3.1 billion
  • Bank levy increased to raise an extra £900 million a year

LIVE…

Bercow Chastened as Deputy Cheered

Almost as if the House is pleased the Speaker isn’t in the chair for the Budget…

PMQs LIVE: Who is Asking the Questions Today

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Ian Murray (Edinburgh South)

Q2 Teresa Pearce (Erith and Thamesmead)

Q3 James Morris (Halesowen and Rowley Regis) 

Q4 Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire) 

Q5 Jim Sheridan (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) 

Q6 Fiona Mactaggart[…]

+ READ MORE +

Fifty Shades of Osborne: Chancellor Grey

Osborne has confounded the bookies yet again, this time with a grey tie. Bang on trend for anyone looking to inflict pain…[…]

+ READ MORE +

New UKIP Poster Mocks Dave’s Debt

This new poster from UKIP will be going around Westminster on a truck today.

let-me-do-it-again

Remind you of anything?[…]

+ READ MORE +

Farage on His Health: “I’ve Never Been Well”

Nigel Farage dispelled rumours about his health as he launched his new book ‘Purple Revolution‘ last night. Introduced by Cameron biographer Isabel Oakeshott, he told the audience:

“The gossip is that I’m not well. If you read the

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

David Cameron tells MPs after voting:

“Wouldn’t miss this for the world. Secret ballots very important. Remember the Chartists.”

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