Anyone who’s ever sat through a statement given by Philip Hammond, knows that he’s not quite what you’d call a gifted orator. With his cringeworthy gags, stilted delivery and all the charisma of Milne’s Eeyore, the Chancellor’s budget announcements tend to resemble bad eulogies rather than the unveiling of exciting new policies.
But even he might have been surprised this afternoon by how few Tory MPs were willing to stick around to listen to his full spring statement in the House of Commons. Although Hammond managed to draw a big crowd when his statement began, soon his colleagues began to trickle away. And by two hours in, it seems only 16 remained to listen to the second most important day of the year for the Treasury:
It used to be that the Treasury was the centre of power within the government, as the department which controls the nation’s purse-strings. Mr S wonders though, with this government on the brink of collapse, if MPs are sensing that power now lies elsewhere…