Budget 2017: Best jokes of the speech

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Chancellor Philip Hammond shed his strait-laced image and showed a more humorous side as he took to the despatch box to deliver his first Budget.

Here are some of the jokes he cracked - which had some MPs in stitches - during his 55- minute speech.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond tried to shake of his dry image by cracking a few jokes during the budget. Picture: SWNS

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond tried to shake of his dry image by cracking a few jokes during the budget. Picture: SWNS

On being known as “Spreadsheet Phil”:

Mr Hammond: “I turn now, Mr Deputy Speaker, to the OBR forecast. This is the spreadsheet bit, but bear with me because I have a reputation to defend.”

On Britain’s troubled relationship with the EU:

Mr Hammond: “Overall, public sector net borrowing as a percentage of GDP is predicted to fall from 3.8% last year to 2.6% this year.

“And for those who care about such things, it means we are forecast to meet our 3% EU Stability and Growth pact target this year for the first time in more than a decade.

“But I won’t hold my breath, Mr Deputy Speaker, for my congratulatory letter from Jean-Claude Juncker.”

On the “last” Labour government:

Mr Hammond: “Mr Deputy Speaker, a strong economy needs a fair stable and competitive tax system, creating the growth that will underpin our future prosperity.

“My ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

“Under the last Labour government corporation tax was 28% - by the way they don’t call it the last Labour government for nothing.”

On being upstaged by Theresa May on International Women’s Day:

Mr Hammond: “I am delighted to use the occasion of International Women’s Day to announce three additional measures.

“Well, not quite announce them, Mr Deputy Speaker, because my Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister’s already announced two of them.”

Mrs May: “It’s International Women’s Day!”

On Jeremy Corbyn disappearing down a black hole

Mr Hammond: “A well-functioning market economy is the best way to deliver prosperity and security to working families and the litany of failed attempts at state control of industry by Labour leave no-one in any doubt about that.

“Except, apparently, the Right Honourable Gentleman opposite, who is now so far down a black hole that even Stephen Hawking has disowned him.”

On being doubted by the Opposition

After Mr Hammond pledged to invest an additional £216 million in existing schools over the next three years, a Labour MP shouted: “No you won’t!”

The grinning Chancellor gave a panto-style reply: “Oh yes we will.”