Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Cameron gives Osborne his backing

PM David Cameron says George Osborne will still be Chancellor at the next election
PM David Cameron says George Osborne will still be Chancellor at the next election

David Cameron has offered strong backing for his under-fire Chancellor, saying he is doing an "excellent" job and indicating George Osborne would still be in his post at the next general election.

Woeful growth figures last week which showed the UK economy sliding deeper into recession with a 0.7% fall in GDP between April and June, led to calls from within the Conservative Party for Mr Osborne to be replaced as Chancellor or stripped of his job as head of election strategy.

But the Prime Minister defended the Chancellor's record telling Sky News: "George Osborne is doing an excellent job in very difficult circumstances and he has my full support in going on and doing that job."

Asked if he would still be the Chancellor at the next Election, Mr Cameron replied: "He's not going anywhere - yes."

Asked about speculation over a post-Olympics re-shuffle involving Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Mr Cameron said: "Self evidently you can see from this Jeremy Hunt and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have done a very good job, with Locog, with the Mayor, with all the different parts, Transport for London, the Government itself everyone's had to pull together."

Mr Osborne has faced criticism on his handling of Britain's economy in the wake of a series of Budget U-turns, with Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for a new approach and accusing the Prime Minister of complacency over "an economic plan that is failing".

Mid-Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries previously called for Foreign Secretary William Hague to be given the Chancellor's job, while Tory peer Lord Ryder said Osborne should "of course" be stripped of his party role.

Describing both Cameron and Osborne as tacticians "obsessed with the management of 24-hour news", Lord Ryder said: "The Treasury deserves the Chancellor to be there on a full-time basis and to ensure it develops a proper economic strategy."

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable was last week forced to deny he was angling for Mr Osborne's job, after telling the BBC he would "probably" make a good Chancellor.

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