Picture 17 Last night I highlighted the excellent demolition of the Government's handling of the economy by Philip Hammond during yesterday's belated Commons debate on the Pre-Budget Report.

Summing up for the Opposition was his colleague in the Treasury team, Greg Hands, who also put in a robust performance at the Despatch Box.

And this how he concluded the speech, comparing Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Ed Balls' attitudes to spending to those of drinkers in the pub at chucking-out time:

"When it comes to spending and the deficit, the Government are behaving
like a set of habitual drinkers, gathered around a table in a dingy pub
as chucking-out time approaches. Everyone else in town, even those in
the pub, can see that it is time for them to be slung out, but they are
discussing going for one last binge. The way to avoid the hangover,
they say, is to carry on drinking to the end.

"The worst offender is the
boss himself, sat there with his two mates. Suddenly, the slightly more
responsible Chancellor, who is actually the designated driver, weakly
suggests that it might be time to stop. Heated discussion ensues: the
Chancellor suggests that it is time for the boss to give up entirely,
but suddenly, the boss’s best mate of all returns from the bar
clutching two bottles of whisky.

"Last orders are approaching for these
people. The binge needs to end, the Government need to sober up and the
whole country can see that it is time urgently to change course."

Click here to read the whole speech.

Jonathan Isaby

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