The last time Ed Vaizey appeared on the Daily Politics to defend one of George Osborne’s dodgy dossiers, the result was not pretty. The culture minister’s bumbling performance was compared to that of The Thick of It‘s Ben Swain, in his Newsnight interview. So, it was an interesting decision to send Vaizey back onto the airwaves today to defend Osborne’s new Brexit ‘punishment budget’.
With the Chancellor of the Exchequer promising to go back on election promises and raise taxes if the people dare to vote for Brexit, Andrew Neil put to Vaizey that it didn’t add up:
AN: Why does a shallow recession result in this massive punishment in tax rises and spending cuts amounting to 30 billion?
EV: In terms of the impact, well you’ve seen for example Rolls Royce today talking about the potential impact of Brexit, one of our most successful manufacturing companies… I think the real point here — you can bring up lots of different surveys…
AN: Well I only brought up one… the Treasury
EV: Everyone knows there will be an economic shock, and secondly George Osborne has said there will have to be an emergency budget.
Alas Vaizey seemed unsure as to how the Budget would actually get through:
AN: You only have a majority of 16, at times it is only 12. 57 of your MPs regard this as untenable and they will not vote for it, Labour’s not going to vote for it. You could not get this budget through, it’s an empty threat
EV: It’s not an empty threat, it’s a credible example…
AN: How would you get it through Parliament?
EV: …of the kind of changes you would have to make if we left
As the awkward exchange continued, Neil accused Vaizey of filibustering as the culture minister giggled his way through the interview — ignoring a question asking what the deficit is. Mr S suggests that Osborne fights his own battles next time around.