13 Sep 2010

Lib Dem MP’s Commons attack on Osborne

Lib Dem MP Bob Russell “dragged”, in his own words, the chancellor to the Commons to explain his words on the BBC on Thursday (£4b cuts in jobless benefits).

Mr Russell ticked Mr Osborne off for his attacks on the workshy in what looked and sounded to me like the most frontal, direct Commons attack on a Tory cabinet minister by a Lib Dem backbencher since the coalition was formed – accusing him of being “unethical” attacking welfare cheats not tax cheats and of being “immature” in his dealings with the DWP.

Now, Bob Russell has turned himself into a “usual suspect” in this game. Even his trusty partner in crime Mike Hancock didn’t follow the more strident rhetorical line (though he did ask what was happening about tax avoidance).

But it was a bit uncomfortable, the first of what could become a regular event and no doubt something the Tory and Lib Dem whips would rather like to keep to a minimum.

More traditionally, Dennis Skinner, from the seated position, shouted out that George Osborne “sounds like he’s been on the white stuff again,” but the Speaker didn’t appear to hear so he got away with it this time.

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