Sketch: Comedy Phil left Tories cheering and Corbyn seething

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn listens as Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond makes his Budget s

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn listens as Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond makes his Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons. PA Wire - Credit: PA

Philip Hammond had a hard act to follow in delivering his first budget.

His predecessor George Osborne relished the parliamentary stage. He made sure he had a hearty backing track from his backbenchers as he spelt out his fiscal masterpieces.

The expectation was that 'Spreadsheet Phil' - the nickname of the government's money man - would be a little less of a schmoozer.

Certainly his backbenchers were less rowdy than they were in the Osborne days.

The deputy speaker made an easy living, he hardly intervened as the budget was delivered.

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Yet it was not short on jibes.

There were chuckles as Mr Hammond imitated the famous hand gestures of the former shadow chancellor Ed Balls - not in the ballroom, but in his pre-Strictly days of goading Mr Osborne. It seems the ghost of Norwich City Football Club chairman continues to loom large in the Commons.

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There was amusement when in talking about the past Labour government's corporation tax, he mocked: 'They don't call it the last Labour government for nothing'. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was generally stony-faced. Particularly so when in a nod to academic Stephen Hawking's criticism Mr Hammond told MPs: 'Jeremy Corbyn is now so far down a black hole that even Stephen Hawking has disowned him'. Labour's parallels to driverless car went down almost as badly with the under-fire leader. As the Chancellor drew to a close Conservatives waved their order papers, they laughed and they cheered. What really matters is if they continue to do so in the cold light of day.

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