Having criticised Parliament for not devoting enough time to debate the economic and financial crises we find ourselves in, I have to praise it for moving quickly in the wake of yesterday's Pre-Budget report. The Speaker has agreed that there should be a three hour debate tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon but only after intense pressure from the opposition.
It does seem extraordinary that such a major statement on the overwhelmingly dominant issue of the day shouldn't have been automatically followed by an extended debate as, indeed, the Budget itself is. Alistair Darling's speech yesterday was hugely significant in so many ways that it deserves to be debated properly. It marks an end to 30 years of tax cuts, the opening up of a yawning chasm between the two main parties on economic and fiscal policy for the first time since the early 1990s and a massive gamble on short term spending heading off a deep recession. We might as well have closed Parliament down if it couldn't hold a debate on that lot.
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