Today’s Autumn Budget speech was injected with usual levity by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Perhaps in an attempt to shake off the image of a bland Spreadsheet Phil, the 61-year-old chucked a refreshingly high number of japes during his 7,781-word monologue.
Here’s a selection of Phil’s jokes that caught our attention.
1 – Boozing and cough sweets
Referencing the tradition that allows the chancellor to sneak a tipple into the chamber during his budget speech, Hammond said: “My predecessor used something a little more exotic.
"I will stick to plain water.”
But he wasn’t done there and was brave enough to direct the joke at the PM, saying:
I did take the precaution of asking my right honourable friend to bring a packet of cough sweets just in case.
As the house erupted – which included cries of: “Where’s your P45” – deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle said: “It might be a hearing aid we will all need if this [racket] continues.”
Thinking things had calmed down, Hammond then set detailing “the bit with the ‘long, economicky words’”.
2 – The Hammond and May show
Announcing a government push for driverless cars, the chancellor said: “I know Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like them.”
But he added:
Sorry Jeremy, this is definitely not the first time you’ve been snubbed by Hammond and May.
3 – Good times
The government wants more maths boffins in the UK and the budget rubber-stamped a previously signposted initiative to invest £40m to train maths teachers across the country.
“More maths for everyone,” Hammond said.
Don’t let anyone say I don’t know how to show the nation a good time.
4 – Lewis
The tax levied on flying will not be hiked, Hammond said, with plans to freeze Air Passenger Duty rates. This will be paid by increasing the levy on premium class tickets and private jets.
After reports that Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton had used his private jet as an efficient tax planning tool, Hammond said simply: “Sorry Lewis.”
5 – Get me out of here!
Hammond took the opportunity to mock the appearance of former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale appearing on an ITV jungle-based reality TV show.
“Not everyone shares the view that falling debt is good news,” he said.
“I have heard representations from the party opposite suggesting increasing the debt by £500bn, taking us back to one.
Mr Speaker if they carry on like that there will be plenty others joining Kezia Dugdale in saying ‘I’m Labour, Get Me Out of Here!’.
6 – Merry Christmas
Duties on strong cider may have been hiked but as the livers of the British public prepare to take a yuletide battering, the chancellor decided to freeze duties on other ciders, wines spirits and beers.
“This will mean a bottle of whisky will be £1.15 less in 2018.
“And a pint of beer 12p less.
So, Merry Christmas, Mr Deputy Speaker.
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