Lawmakers have passed Chancellor George Osborne's highly controversial Budget after plans to slash disability benefits were scrapped. After a series of reversals, MPs accepted the Budget by 310 votes to 275.
Osborne confirmed that cuts to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) would not go ahead, saying that it did not "command support." Given the retreat, Labour responded by demanding how Osborne planned to fill the £4.4bn void left in the Budget. The chancellor will not reveal how he plans to plug the gaping hole to the tune of billions until the Autumn statement.
During the fiery session, the chancellor admitted that planned cuts to disability benefits were a mistake, but refused to apologise – specifically to disabled people – despite demands from the Opposition. "Apologise for the pain and anguish he's caused disabled people and their families for the last two weeks. When you make a mistake and you correct it as least you should apologise," said Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
The Budget was passed with the backing of former work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith (IDS), who sensationally quit in protest over the government's plans, saying it would further divide society.
In his resignation letter, IDS said the cuts were a "compromise too far" and slammed Osborne for focusing on disability benefits while slashing taxes, including corporation tax and capital gains tax.
In a strong response towards the end of the day, Shadow First Secretary Angela Eagle ripped into the chancellor and his "botched" Budget which "disastrously unravelled in just a few days."
She said: "It was a budget created by a Chancellor far more concerned with advancing his own interests than advancing the national interest. We all knew that this was a budget which had to be seen through the lens of the Chancellor's own long cherished ambition to become leader of the Tory Party and Prime Minister."
Eagle attacked the "utter collapse" of Osborne's authority and a government in "complete and utter disarray."