“Impetuous” Osborne mocked by Darling

By Alex Stevenson

Kenneth Clark’s comments in recent days have highlighted shadow chancellor George Osborne’s “youthful impetuousness”, Alistair Darling told the Commons.

This week’s Treasury questions saw Mr Osborne criticise the gulf he claimed has opened up between Bank of England governor Mervyn King and the government over whether a further fiscal stimulus can be afforded.

It follows Mr King’s comments in his appearance before the Treasury committee on Tuesday morning that “another round of fiscal expansion” was unaffordable.

Mr Osborne said Gordon Brown “lecturing” Latin American leaders about the virtues of fiscal stimuli had been undermined when the governor “cuts up his credit card at home”.

“If there is no agreement, what hope is there the government can pull us out of this recession?” he asked.

Mr Darling responded by pointing out Mr King agreed with the government on the Pre-Budget Report fiscal stimulus.

He said Mr Osborne was “talking nonsense as usual” and drew attention to shadow business secretary Kenneth Clark’s doubts about the affordability of tory inheritance tax plans.

“Isn’t this a case of experience on the part of the business secretary triumphing over the youthful impetuousness seen opposite?”