Jeremy Corbyn has sought to capitalise on the Tories’ meltdown over disability cuts by calling on George Osborne to resign as Chancellor.
He has told the BBC that Osborne should be “considering his position” following the spectacular row between the Chancellor and Iain Duncan Smith, who angrily denounced his former colleague over a “deeply unfair” Budget.
Labour has called for the full reversal of “cruel Tory cuts” to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), which had been designed to save £4bn by 2020, by taking an average of £3,500 a year from 370,000 disabled people who use the money to pay for support ranging from walking sticks to alterations to vehicles. It is thought Stephen Crabb, the new Work and Pensions Secretary, could perform a u-turn on the Budget plans as soon as this afternoon.
Today Corbyn told BBC Breakfast that Osborne should follow IDS out of Government.
“The Budget doesn’t add up, the Chancellor of the Exchequer should come back to Parliament to explain that.
“Far from just Iain Duncan Smith resigning, if the Chancellor puts forward a Budget, which he did, knowing full well that he was taking this huge hit on the disabled then really it should be perhaps him who should be re-considering his position as well as Iain Duncan Smith who has already gone.
“His Budget simply doesn’t add up. It unravelled within hours of him presenting it and this isn’t the first time that George Osborne’s Budget has unravelled so it seems to me that we need to look very much at the heart of this Government- at its incompetence, at the way it puts forward proposals that simply don’t add up.”
It came on another bizarre day for the Tories in which Osborne refused to show up to the Commons for an Urgent Question, granted to John McDonnell, on the fall-out from the Budget. It appeared David Gauke, a Treasury minister, would be sent to the House instead, prompting McDonnell to describe the Chancellor as “cowardly”.
“It’s unacceptable to the country and insulting to Parliament that the Chancellor is not turning up to respond to my Urgent Question on the chaos of his making around a Budget he delivered only last week which had collapsed by Friday night,” McDonnell said.
“This has meant hundreds of thousands of disabled people will have been worried needlessly by George Osborne.
“And today yet another thread of George Osborne’s Budget has unravelled. The Chancellor and David Cameron knew that if they hadn’t climbed-down on the Tampon Tax and Solar Jobs Tax they were heading for defeat and would have lost the first votes on a Budget Debate since 1994.
“George Osborne needs to now set out how he will fill the back hole in his Budget. His failure to do so means his fantasy £10bn surplus target, like his credibility, is further shot to pieces.
Westminster has been awash with rumours the Government could be defeated in a formal vote on the Budget because of a Tory backbench rebellion. The Tories have a majority of 12 in the Commons and any defeat would prove seismic – although Downing Street has a history of bringing back on board discontented backbenchers.