George Osborne has just spoken to a private meeting of the parliamentary party.  He received a warm reception but one that was "far from ecstatic" according to one source and "conditional" according to another.

He said that the party needed to make it very clear that the economic crisis engulfing Britain was not imported from America but made in Britain.  America was not responsible for Britain’s record private and public debt, he said.  America was not responsible for the fact that the UK’s recession was likeliest to be the deepest of all major developed economies.

He went on to say that the British people would not be fooled by tax giveaways.  It was vital that the Tories presented the expected tax cuts in next week’s Pre Budget Report as "tax cons".  The party needed to be super-disciplined, he said, in relentlessly driving home the message that Brown was – yet again – treating the British people as fools.

Earlier he received significant vindication from the Monetary Policy Committee for his view that fiscal irresponsibility could imperil an expansionary monetary policy.  James Forsyth has blogged that the MPC minutes reveal that deeper rate cuts are dependent upon announcements in the PBR.

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