Spending Review Sketch: Clive Lewis ordered to do yoga and Chairman Mao makes rare appearance

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell offers a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book (on table) to Chanc

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell offers a copy of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book (on table) to Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. Photo: PA Wire - Credit: PA

It felt like groundhog day as the Chancellor got to his feet.


The usual utterances of storm clouds and fixing the roof while the sun is shining set the scene, yet the cast for the 2015 spending review was very different to the one of previous years.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell earnestly took notes throughout with an icy stare. A contrast from his predecessor Ed Balls who would go a deeper shade of pink as the statement went on.

He left the heckling to newbie Norwich South MP Clive Lewis whose expression was a mixture of amusement and shame as the speaker singled him out for admonishment after he got rather animated. Take up yoga, John Bercow suggested to cackles from both sides.

For the Tories, whose gloom in the run up to the big day had been palpable, it was better than they imagined.


An apparent tax credit u-turn was met with cheers and declarations of police funding protection received with unbridled joy.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who previously was invited to the budget party, did not even get a seat this time, relegated to the floor among the plentiful Scottish nationalists.

Most Read

Wannabe Prime Minister Mr Osborne appeared to have secured the support of the backbenchers, but Mr McDonnell delivered a reality check.

It is an iron law for chancellors, he warned, that the louder the cheer the greater the disappointment - before brandishing a copy of Chairman Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book,

Time will tell where the disappointment will be.