Angry Speaker Lindsay Hoyle today suggested Rishi Sunak has broken the Ministerial Code after billions in Budget spending was pre-briefed to the media.
The Treasury had issued 20 pre-Budget press releases by noon on Tuesday, between them containing more than £30billion of announcements.
But his fears were ignored as the Treasury then announced public sector pay will rise for 5.5million workers next year.
Mr Hoyle today issued a new challenge to the Chancellor – warning the Ministerial Code prohibits his behaviour.
UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Imag)
The Code says: "When Parliament is in session, the most important announcements of Government policy should be made in the first instance, in Parliament."
Mr Hoyle said he was "disappointed" to find further details had been briefed overnight.
He said: "The government just doesn't have to take my word for it – its own Ministerial Code says so!".
He added: "If the government continues to treat this house in a discourteous manner, I will do everything in my power to ensure ministers are called here at the earliest opportunity to explain themselves."
He blasted: "This House will not be taken for granted.
"It's not right for everybody to briefed, it’s not more important to go on the news in the morning, it’s more important to come here."
Labour today called an urgent question in the Commons about the pre-briefing, with MP Angela Eagle saying: "This is treating parliamentary democracy with utter contempt."
Labour's Clive Efford added: "This is the first Budget I've seen fall apart before Budget day."
But MPs on both sides fell about laughing as Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke defended the government's position – and even said: "I'm not going to comment on leaks".
Shadow Treasury minister Bridget Phillipson said the Chancellor “hasn’t even delivered his Budget yet and it’s already falling apart”.
She said: “We face an urgent cost-of-living crisis. Prices are up in our shops, at our petrol pumps and on our heating bills. Families and businesses are waiting and hoping for the Chancellor to take the action that they need and which our country desperately needs, but the Chancellor hasn’t even delivered his Budget yet and it’s already falling apart.
“In recent days we have read thousands of words about what the Chancellor plans to do, but the silence is deafening on the soaring bills and rising prices facing families and businesses.”
She said: “Will he justify properly withholding from Parliament decisions that he and his colleagues have given to the press?”
She added: “Will he follow Labour’s lead and confirm today now that he’s with us, that he will be cutting VAT on domestic heating bills to zero for six months, and finally will he back Britain’s high street firms, freeze business rates now and replace them with a better system fast. He can tell the newspapers, it’s time for him to tell this House.”
Mr Clarke replied: “It beggars belief that the Labour Party stands here saying that a 6.6% increase in the national living wage somehow isn’t enough.”
On the cost of energy, he added: “We have the energy price cap which is protecting households – up to £100 a year off their bills – that’s the right thing to do. I think it’s something which we all recognise is a priority for all of our constituents. When it comes to business rates, we’ll be having the upshot of the review that’s being conducted.”
He added: “The disconnect between what the Labour Party is committed to and what they’ve actually funded is somewhere in the region of £400 billion committed to, with £5 billion savings to pay for it, now that is not a responsible way to run the economy.”
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