Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews on today's Budget: Sombre preamble as Chancellor begins his farewell tour

Looking like a hospital consultant about to break some very bad news, Jeremy Hunt stepped up to the dispatch box, shuffled his papers, and silently surveyed the room, writes Mark Andrews.

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Jeremy Hunt

"As we mourn the tragic loss of life in Israel and Gaza...", he said soberly, putting on his best Very Serious Face.

Had Mr Hunt been through some Life on Mars-style transformation, and returning to his time as Foreign Secretary, was now about to about to make a declaration of war? A huge sigh of relief, then, when it became clear he was announcing a war memorial for Muslim soldiers, rather than the impending end of the world.

Well that's one way to get the public's attention. The Government would commit £1 million towards the cost of a monument, following representations from outgoing Bromsgrove MP, and former chancellor, Sajid Javid, Mr Hunt told a hushed Commons.

The solemnity lasted for all of two minutes.