A footnote to yesterday’s Budget.
Last night, rumour emerged of two pieces of noteworthy body language from inside the Commons.
First, George Osborne is said to have winked at David Cameron as he sat down. There aren’t any clear pictures of this — yet — but it has now been referred to in the press. The cynical view inside Labour is that Osborne winked at his friend the Prime Minister as if to say, “We’re calling this ‘progressive’, but we know it’s not.”
Second, and much clearer from the footage, Nick Clegg definitely turned to Cameron and mouthed “thank you” after Osborne announced a lift in the lowest rate of income tax. This provides an intriguing insight into the dynamic between the two men, as Clegg appeared extremely grateful despite huge and humiliating concessions over VAT and child benefits.
It seems increasingly clear that the “new” Lib Dems have decided they’re in this for the long haul, whatever the reality of the Tory agenda betrayed by Osborne’s mysterious wink.
Join us for analysis from the Commons after Prime Minister’s Questions, which starts at midday.