Of course no Budget announcement would be complete without some customary ‘banter’ from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. With George Osborne’s leadership chances seen to be dwindling, he did his best to show that he had got his ‘mojo’ back.
Clearly free of any guilty feelings over how things turned out for the Liberal Democrats in the General Election, Osborne couldn’t resist a taking a pop at the beleaguered party as he discussed his plan for pensions:
‘For the past year, we’ve consulted widely on whether we should make compulsory changes to the pension system but it was clear there was no consensus.
Indeed the former pensions minister, the Liberal Democrat Steve Webb said I was trying to abolish the lump sum. Instead we’re going to keep the lump sum and abolish the Liberal Democrats.’
As Osborne’s colleagues burst into laughter, the camera focussed on a red-faced Farron who haplessly laughed along — perhaps thankful to even get a mention. Still, he can at least take heart that he wasn’t Osborne’s only target. Jeremy Corbyn also found himself in the firing line as Osborne discussed HS2:
‘The government that is delivering Crossrail 1, will now deliver Crossrail 2. I know this committment to Crossrail 2 will be warmly welcomed by the leader of the opposition, the right honourable member for Islington.
It could have been designed just for him — because it’s good for all those who live in North London and are heading south.’
Corbyn seemed less amused than Farron by the comments.