News reaches Uncut that Ed Miliband’s budget response has depressed spirits on the already gloomy Labour benches in the Commons.
After weeks of narrowing polls and increasing jitters in the tea room, today’s budget set-piece was widely viewed as an opportunity for Miliband to rally his troops.
The benign economic circumstances enjoyed by George Osborne had already been priced into PLP expectations, as had the difficulties faced by the leader of the opposition in delivering an instant budget response without having had the time to study its small print.
Few expected the Labour leader to fillet the detail of what was announced, but MPs were looking for a fighting performance from their leader. Something to settle the nerves and show some command at the despatch box.
But as the MPs filtered out of the chamber following the main speeches, the mood on the Labour side was sombre. One MP who spoke to Uncut shortly after leaving the debate was scathing, describing the performance as “embarrassing,” and that morale among their colleagues was now “really quite low.”
Looking forward to the election next year, their assessment of Labour’s prospects was bleak, “Much more of this and we are going to need a Devon Loch scenario to win.”
For readers too young to either directly recall the Devon Loch Grand National in 1956, or to have seen countless repeats of the incident on Grand National specials through the years, the clip below should help.
For this MP, and many of their colleagues, unless Ed Miliband improves, Labour will require a slip from David Cameron equivalent to that of Devon Loch’s, to triumph in 2015 .