George Osborne laughed when he was asked to apologise to disabled for funding cuts
Well at least he’s having fun
Being admonished in public makes you behave strangely. At school, you’d shrug it off when a teacher was short – “don’t care” – and then furiously blink away some tears.
Maybe that’s what George Osborne did later, though his demeanour doesn’t suggest he was sorry, at all, for laughing when shadow chancellor John McDonnell called on him to apologise for proposed cuts to benefits for disabled people.
Watch the video here:
“What I find most disgraceful through all of this is that there has been no word of apology from the Chancellor or any member on that side,” McDonnell says.
Cut to Gideon, who doesn’t really look like he’s listening, is definitely smirking a bit, and is chatting to Michael Gove (Brexit forgotten, presumably) who’s on his phone. He folds his arms, assured, maybe a bit defiant.
McDonnell perseveres. “Apologise – I say apologise for the pain and anguish he’s caused disabled people and their families for the last two weeks.”
He tries a last appeal. “We all make mistakes. But when you make a mistake and you correct it at least you should apologise.”
The chancellor had planned to scythe £4.4 billion in benefits for the disabled. The specific cut would have affected those who use specially adapted appliances; the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested this would have seen 370,000 disabled people losing an average of £3500 a year. Osborne has since U-turned.
During his first appearance in parliament yesterday since the U-turn, he sounded a little more contrite. “I have made it clear that where we’ve made a mistake, where we’ve got things wrong, we listen and we learn. That’s precisely what we’ve done.”
That and lark about like a schoolboy.