It is always a pleasure to follow Shabana Mahmood. This is the first time I have had an opportunity to speak in this House since learning of the sad death of the right hon. Tony Benn. With your permission, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to pay a short tribute to him. As a young boy growing up in Bristol, even though I did not necessarily agree with much of what he said, I admired him as a man of principle, passion and compassion. I extend my condolences to his family and friends.
I shall begin by thanking hon. Members from both sides of the Chamber for their contributions this afternoon. It has been good to hear some Labour Members actually offering opinions on the Budget’s measures, given their leader’s failure to do so yesterday. In 15 minutes at the Dispatch Box he more or less failed to acknowledge that the Budget even happened.
We should not be surprised. Not a single Labour Member seems to acknowledge the facts when they left office. They left the country with its biggest post-war recession, the largest budget deficit in the G20 and the largest banking bail-out in the world. Their policies destroyed the living standards of millions.