Philip Hammond gets personal after John McDonnell slams his Spring Statement
Watch: The chancellor is not fooled by ‘the smooth reassuring mien of the bank manager’.
The UK economy is growing at a slightly faster rate than predicted and there is “light at the end of the tunnel”, Philip Hammond said in his Spring Statement today.
But the drama came after the set-piece speech to Commons when Hammond and shadow chancellor John McDonnell went head-to-head and showed their true colours.
“His complacency today is astounding,” railed McDonnell.
“We face in every public service, a crisis on a scale we’ve never seen before. Hasn’t he listened to the doctors, the nurses, the teachers, the police officers, the carers and even his own councillors? They’re telling him they can’t wait for the next Budget – they’re telling him to act now…
"The chancellor’s proclaimed today there is light at the end of the tunnel – this shows how cut off from the real world he is!”
McDonnell also blasted the “Tory bully boys” who were shouting him down in the Chamber – which set up his opponent nicely.
Referring to past comments made about Esther McVey, the chancellor retorted:
“He talks about 'Tory bully boys'.... Can I just remind the House, this is the man who still refuses to apologise to my right honourable friend the work and pensions secretary. So I don't want to hear anything about bullying from the benches opposite, the public can draw its own conclusions."
Hammond then made an audacious bid to update the Tories’ famous 1997 ‘Demon Eyes’ attack for 2018.
“He knows his Lenin of course, the task is to win power. And that’s why we see from the honourable gentleman the smooth reassuring mien of the bank manager.
“But every now and again the mask slips and we get a glimpse of the sinister ideology that lies beneath. An ideology that would wreck our economy if he ever got anywhere near the controls.”