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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2007, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Osborne attacks Brown's record on spin
George Osborne
These have not been the Blair years, these have been the Blair-Brown years
George Osborne

No Chancellor has "done less to engage with Parliament", shadow Chancellor George Osborne told the Politics Show on Sunday in denouncing Gordon Brown's record on spin and media manipulation.

He said: "I can't think of a Chancellor who has done less to engage with parliament, who has employed more spin doctors and who for example most recently in the budget, did everything he could to present his budget as a tax cutting budget, when of course it turned out, almost immediately, once you looked at the fine print that it was a tax con."

He also declared himself unimpressed with reports in the Sunday papers that Mr Brown wants to build 100,000 environmentally friendly homes: "If you look at Gordon Brown's record as chancellor, we are building less houses each year than were built under the Conservative government, indeed for the first time in modern British history the number of home owners is falling.

"So you first of all look at the record and then you look at the actual announcement today and you discover, lo and behold, that the same announcement was made a year ago by Yvette Cooper, the housing minister."

Mr Osborne said that Mr Brown bore his share of responsibility for all the Labour government's shortcomings:

He continued: "These have not been the Blair years, these have been the Blair-Brown years."

Challenging times..?

Gordon Brown may face a left-wing challenge for the Labour leadership from either Michael Meacher or John McDonnell.

They have pledged that only one of them will challenge the Chancellor, and John McDonnell told Jon Sopel he was confident the left could muster enough votes: "We've had the first meeting, and we now know that between us we've got more than we need.

"So on Monday we'll then decide who's got the most and whoever's got the most will then go forward, the other person will drop out and encourage their supporters to endorse the other candidate."

Mr McDonnell was asked if he felt he should call an immediate election if he won - given that it would signal a sharp change of direction: "My view is like this," he said, "I think there needs to be a period of time in which you can demonstrate what you're doing and what you want to do, and then go to the electorate yourself."

And he felt the same would apply to Gordon Brown: "I think the same argument does apply. That's a reasonable period of time where people can judge you on your record in office itself and I think that's what people will want."

The Politics Show Sunday 13 March 2007 at 12.00pm on BBC One.

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