Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 12:47 UK

Laws defends government cuts

Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws has defended the government's £6bn spending cuts programme as necessary to tackle the "urgent economic situation... and economic mess" inherited from Labour.

Responding to an urgent question tabled by Shadow Chancellor Alistair Darling on 26 May 2010, Mr Laws told the House:

"These are only the first steps that will be need to but our public finances back in shape but I believe the public and most members of the House will welcome the fact we finally have a government with the guts and determination to take these difficult decisions".

But Mr Darling, who reprimanded Chancellor George Osborne for not being present to respond to the question, accused the government of going "far beyond" efficiency savings and implementing cuts which would risk front-line services and the "economic fabric of this country".

"I'm very disappointed he's failed to acknowledge the additional package of measures that we announced which will nurture recovery...and help ensure we can bring down the deficit and protect economic recovery at the same time," Mr Laws replied.

Mr Darling criticised the government for briefing the details to the media before the Commons, which was met with laughter from the government backbenches as such instances also occurred under the Labour government.

At the end of the session, Speaker John Bercow announced the nominations procedure for deputy speakers of the House of Commons, which will take place on 8 June.

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