PMQs review: the Budget hands Miliband an easy win

Cameron is still unable to defend much of his Chancellor's Budget.

The first PMQs since the Budget was, unsurprisingly, an easy win for Ed Miliband. David Cameron struggled to defend his decision to cut the 50p tax rate and quickly attempted to change the subject to unemployment, which fell by 35,000 (0.1 per cent) in the last quarter. But as the PM admitted later in the session, unemployment remains "far too high" - today's figures were nothing to boast about. Cameron's intervention merely gifted Miliband another opportunity to brand him as "out-of-touch". As he said, figures that show more than one million young people unemployed are no cause for celebration.

From then on, every time the Labour leader raised an unpopular measure from the calamitous Budget ["even people within Downing Street calling it an 'omnishambles,'" he quipped] - the 50p tax cut, "the granny tax", "the charity tax" - the PM turned to the subject of Ken Livingstone's tax avoidance. But while this story is disastrous for Livingstone, it has done little damage to Miliband. It did, however, highlight just how valuable Cameron believes the re-election of Boris Johnson would be for the Tories. A victory for Johnson would overshadow all of the disasters of the last month.

Perhaps the most significant moment came when Miliband branded George Osborne a "part-time" Chancellor - the first time he's used this line. "I wonder which job he's doing today, Mr Speaker?", he asked, a reference to Osborne's dual-role as Chancellor and the Tories' chief election strategist. Aware of how damaging this charge is, Cameron looked furious. If it sticks, Osborne could be permanently damaged.

Ed Miliband branded George Osborne a "part-time Chancellor". Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tory Brexiter Daniel Hannan: Leave campaign never promised "radical decline" in immigration

The voters might not agree...

BBC Newsnight on Twitter

It was the Leave campaign's pledge to reduce EU immigration that won it the referendum. But Daniel Hannan struck a rather different tone on last night's Newsnight. "It means free movement of labour," the Conservative MEP said of the post-Brexit model he envisaged. An exasperated Evan Davis replied: “I’m sorry we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration. The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement." 

Hannan protested that EU migrants would lose "legal entitlements to live in other countries, to vote in other countries and to claim welfare and to have the same university tuition". But Davis wasn't backing down. "Why didn't you say this in the campaign? Why didn't you say in the campaign that you were wanting a scheme where we have free movement of labour? Come on, that's completely at odds with what the public think they have just voted for." 

Hannan concluded: "We never said there was going to be some radical decline ... we want a measure of control". Your Mole suspects many voters assumed otherwise. If immigration is barely changed, Hannan and others will soon be burned by the very fires they stoked. 

I'm a mole, innit.