Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Osborne unveils details of loan to Ireland

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled details of the £3.25bn loan being offered to help bail out Ireland's economy.

The money will be split into eight payments, with the first available in September 2011 at an interest rate of approximately 5.9%.

"We are doing this because it is overwhelmingly in our national interest that we have a strong Irish economy and a stable banking system.

"It is not just about the Irish economy and Irish jobs, it is about the British economy and British jobs," the chancellor told MPs.

MPs were being asked to consider all stages of the Loans to Ireland Bill in one day, a rare process usually saved for emergency legislation.

Tory backbencher Peter Bone declared that this was a legislative "speed that would win approval in North Korea."

Shadow chancellor Alan Johnson supported the bill.

But he told MPs: "I have to say, the more I listen to the chancellor, the more my admiration and respect grows for his predecessor [Alistair Darling]."

The bill was overwhelmingly given a second reading by 523 votes to seven.

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