Clarke 'did not nod off' during Budget

An official has denied Labour accusations that Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke nodded off as George Osborne delivered his Budget.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Chancellor's s growth strategy had proved too much for 70-year-old Mr Clarke and had sent him to sleep.

A spokesman for Mr Clarke dismissed the allegation, telling the Press Association: "Of course he didn't fall asleep."

But bookmaker Ladbrokes said it would pay out on bets at 16/1 that Mr Clarke would drop off during the Chancellor's speech.

During his speech, Mr Miliband said Labour would look at the Budget's measures to support growth.

But he added: "There is little reason that they will make the difference to growth we need.

"Indeed the Justice Secretary fell asleep during the Chancellor's speech, his growth strategy was so compelling."

Mr Clarke sat on the Government front bench while Mr Osborne delivered his 56-minute Budget statement.

Ladbrokes said it paid out a four-figure sum to punters after offering odds of 16/1 that Mr Clarke would fall asleep during the Budget speech.

Alex Donohue, a spokesman for the bookmaker, said: "Clarke might have been caught napping but our punters certainly weren't. Top marks to the leader of the Opposition for spotting this one."

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