GEORGE Osborne and Ed Miliband traded insults in the Commons yesterday, with both men attempting to use humour to make their points.
Mr Osborne threw a punch at Mr Miliband’s predecessor, former Labour leader Gordon Brown, whom he accused of running up historically high debt levels in office.
“We’ll have paid off the debts incurred in the South Sea Bubble, the First World War, the debt issued by Henry Pelham, George Goschen and William Gladstone,” Mr Osborne said.
He added: “The debt issued by Gordon Brown will take a little longer to pay off.”
The Labour leader hit back at Mr Osborne, with references to the wealthy backgrounds of the Chancellor and David Cameron, calling them “The trust fund Chancellor and the Bullingdon Club Prime Minister.”
Mr Miliband, in election campaigning mode, also managed an aside at the Liberal Democrats for their role in the coalition.
“Isn’t it great, the Liberal Democrats locked in the boot of the Conservative Party,” the Labour leader said.
Both politicians attempted to make serious political points and Mr Osborne made a unionist statement when he talked of the design of the new pound coin.
“It will feature a rose, thistle, leek and shamrock. We are all part of one United Kingdom,” he said in a reference to last year’s independence referendum.
Mr Miliband countered by accusing the Conservatives of being out of touch and of indulging in self congratulation during yesterday’s Budget.
“Never has the gap between Chancellor rhetoric and reality of people’s lives been wider,” the Labour leader said.
He added: “This is a Budget people won’t believe from a government that’s not on their side.”