Amendment of the Law

Part of Budget Resolutions and Economic Situation – in the House of Commons at 5:10 pm on 10th March 1992.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley , Eltham 5:10 pm, 10th March 1992

The speech of the Leader of the Opposition showed his attitude clearly. We have heard that there is to be a £30 billion programme of public capital spending—a larger sum than the public sector borrowing requirement—yet there was no account of that in his speech.

The right hon. Gentleman was asked what he would do about the 20p in the pound tax rate for the lower paid. He ducked the question and was asked it again, and again he ducked it. It is my guess that by the time that he reaches a press conference he will have been able to take advice from his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith) or from other right hon. and hon. Friends. They will explain to him that he has to say either that the Labour party will vote against 20p in the pound or that it will support the reduction.

The right hon. Gentleman will not be able to get away with his tight response when replying to the Budget statement on behalf of the Opposition. It was seen to be inadequate and it disappointed his supporters. The reaction of Opposition Members at the conclusion of his speech showed that he is not up to the job of moving across the Chamber to the Government Benches.