Here are the jokes in Chancellor Philip Hammond's budget speech

The usually grey chancellor peppered the speech with humour

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 08 March 2017 14:57
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Philip Hammond made a litany of gags in his Budget 2017

Philip Hammond has a reputation for being a bit grey, but his budget was stuffed full of gags. For better or for worse, here are six of the most notable.

Joking about getting sacked

Former Chancellor Norman Lamont was sacked from the Treasury in May 1993 

“The Treasury has helpfully reminded me that I am not the last Chancellor to announce the last spring Budget. 20 years ago Norman Lamont also presented what was billed then as the last spring budget … what they failed to remind me was that ten weeks later he was sacked. So wish me luck today.”

Indy rating: 2 stars out of 5, pleasantly self-effacing but quite laboriously delivered

Joking about International Women’s Day

Conservative MP Trudy Harrison was elected in Copeland

“I’m pleased to report on International Women’s Day that there is now a higher proportion of women in the workforce than ever before, and I’m even more pleased to report that since February 23rd [date of the Copeland by-election] there’s a higher proportion of women in work in the parliamentary Conservative party.”

Indy rating: 1 star out of 5, self-congratulatory pomp worthy of a planted backbench PMQs question

Joking about boring statistics

Philip Hammond has a reputation for being a bit on the bland side 

“This is the spreadsheet bit … bear with me, I have a reputation to defend.”

Indy rating: 3 stars out of 5, both self-effacing and self-aware, which we like

Joking about the last Labour government

The Gordon Brown Labour government took a hit in the jokes (Reuters)

“Under the last Labour Government corporation tax was 28 per cent – and by the way, they don’t call it ‘the last Labour government’ for nothing!”

Indy rating: 4 stars out of 5, this one seems so obvious when you’ve told it, the hallmark of a decent gag

Joking about Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour was likened to a driverless vehicle 

“[The Budget contains] £270m to keep the UK at the forefront of disruptive technologies like biotech, robotics, and driverless systems – a technology I believe the party opposite knows something about.”

Indy rating: 3 stars out of 5, Corbyn jokes have been done to death but this was delivered well

Joking about state intervention

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell supports greater economic intervention

“A well functioning market economy is the best way to deliver prosperity and security to working families and the litany of failed attempts at state control by labour leave no one in any doubt about that – except, apparently, the right honourable gentleman opposite, who is now so far down a black hole that even Stephen Hawking has disowned him.”

Indy rating: 1 star out of 5, the punchline is just mentioning the news and it doesn’t even make sense

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