Labour say ministers ‘broke the ministerial code’ by failing to share Budget statement

Posted On: 
30th October 2018

Labour have accused the Government of flouting the ministerial code by failing to provide them with copies of Philip Hammond’s Budget speech before he delivered it.

John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn at yesterday's Budget
PA Images

In a tweet, the party’s whips office said the Chancellor was too concerned that the set-piece would “fall apart” to show them “even a heavily redacted version”.

They quoted parliamentary rules, published in 2015, which stated that “a copy of the text of an oral statement should usually be shown to the opposition shortly before it is made”.

Budget 2018: Philip Hammond ploughs more cash into Universal Credit after outrage from Tory MPs

Jeremy Corbyn slams 'broken promise Budget' over Tory austerity claims

Budget 2018: Philip Hammond vows to go it alone with UK tax on tech giants

“For this purpose, 15 copies of the statement and associated documents should be sent to the Chief Whip’s Office at least 45 minutes before the statement is to be made," Cabinet Office guidance states.

“At the same time, a copy of the final text of an oral statement should in all cases be sent in advance to the Speaker.”

However a Treasury source told the Daily Express: "Labour clearly have no credible response to the Budget and instead spend their time peddling myths about parliamentary protocol.

"The same Budget document has been shared with them for all Budgets in the last twenty years. It clearly shows they’re running scared of the vision shown by the Chancellor and have little to offer in return.”

Responding to the Budget, Jeremy Corbyn accused Mr Hammond of only offering "half measures and quick fixes" and dismissed the claim that austerity was coming to an end.

"This is a broken promise Budget. What we heard today are half measures and quick fixes while austerity grinds on,” he said.

"Far from people’s hard work and sacrifices having paid off as the Prime Minister claims, this Government has frittered it away in ideological tax cuts to the richest in our society. 

"This Budget won’t undo the damage done by eight years of austerity, it doesn’t begin to measure up to the scale of the job that needs to be done to rebuild Britain.