Autumn Statement: After George Osborne said he was dropping the fuel duty rise, the man taking the credit set his sights on Gordon Brown's 10p tax

Our diarist speaks to Robert Halfon MP, and says Santa Claus had a bad day


As George Osborne announced that he was permanently abandoning the proposed 3p a litre increase in the price of fuel, the camera cut away to the Tory MP, Robert Halfon, sitting in the back row, looking thoroughly pleased with himself. It was the culmination of his long, obsessive campaign to bring down the price of petrol.

For his next trick, Halfon tells me, he is going to start lobbying for the reinstatement of the 10p tax rate which Gordon Brown introduced early in his tenure as Chancellor but inexplicably abolished in his final budget. Halfon wants it to apply to incomes up to £15,000 a year. “It would show that we’re not just interested in tax cuts for the rich,” he says.

From Tory clown to Santa Claus

Ed Balls had a full day. His morning was spent working out what to say in reply to Mr Osborne’s Autumn Statement. His speech, at lunchtime, did not go well, because right at the start he made a slip of the tongue, putting the word “not” in the wrong place, which had the Chancellor and David Cameron falling about laughing, while Mr Balls struggled to recover. Later, he attended Labour’s briefing with the press corps, but had to break off early because of an urgent appointment in a dining room downstairs, where MPs’ children were having a Christmas Party. Nadine Dorries was due to appear in her jungle outfit and, for the eighth year running, Balls was booked to appear as Santa Claus.

Dave toasts a good Balls-up with claret

But on a “we’re all in it together” sort of note, after Mr Cameron had listened to Mr Balls with such visible enjoyment, he was seen making his way into the MPs’ dining room for a plate of roast beef and a glass of claret.

Announcing the Office for Unconventional Gas

If you fancy a job in a new Government agency, and your ideas on gas are not completely bound by convention, you may be interested in this announcement from Chapter 2 of the updated National Infrastructure Plan, published yesterday: “To maximise economic production from UK natural gas resources, the Government will also establish an Office for Unconventional Gas…”

Councillor Ken revs up his speed campaign

Ken Lupton, former leader of Stockton Borough Council, on Teesside, had been distributing a newsletter to residents defending his campaign to have speed cameras installed on the Darlington Road when he got a message about his father that worried him. Leaping into his BMW with personalised number plates, he set off down the said Darlington Road and was booked for speeding. “I am disappointed,” he told the Northern Echo, after magistrates handed down a six-month disqualification.

Westwood outrages with words, not outfit

All political leaders are psychopaths, the veteran fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood claimed at a dinner on Tuesday night in aid of Human Rights Watch, organised by the Fortune Forum. While others laughed, Frederick Willem de Klerk, the former President of South Africa who presided over the dismantling of apartheid, seemed to take it to heart. When it was his turn to speak, he opened by saying: “I am surprised you did not introduce me as a retired psychopath.”

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion  

Walter Palmer killed Cecil the Lion with a bow to show off – and now he's discovering what it's like to be hunted

Louis Theroux
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, arrives with his son Prince George at the Lindo Wing to visit his wife and newborn daughter at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, Britain, 02 May 2015  

Prince George's £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain's widening wealth inequality

Olivia Acland
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'