George Osborne faces Parliament today for the first time since the unravelling of parts of his Budget statement.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made no comment since the resignation of the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in a letter containing direct attacks on Mr Osborne’s political and economic strategy.
He is expected to tell the House of Commons, wrapping up the Budget debate: “I’m sorry Iain Duncan Smith chose to leave the Government last week, and want to recognise his achievements in helping to make sure work pays, breaking the old cycles of welfare dependency and ensuring the most vulnerable in our society are protected.
“That’s work this Government will go on doing. We’ve listened to concerns and, as we made clear last week, we won’t proceed with changes to the Personal Independence Payment.”
The Treasury says that a Chancellor of the Exchequer has not wrapped up a Budget debate since Ken Clarke in the 1990s.
But Mr Osborne’s absence became a key feature of raucous exchanges in the House of Commons on Monday, with the shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying he had insulted Parliament by sending Financial Secretary David Gauke to answer an Urgent Question.
Mr McDonnell branded the Chancellor a coward for not turning up, saying he had left Mr Gauke to “defend the indefensible” and said the Budget was in “absolute chaos”.
MPs across the House have expressed concern and bewilderment that the Budget has now got a £4.4bn hole after plans to cut disability benefits were reversed by new Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.
Steve Baker, the Conservative Treasury Select Committee member, told Sky News: “To describe a line in the Budget Red Book’s policy decisions as a ‘suggestion’ is absurd.”
It is now two consecutive Budgets where the Chancellor has U-turned on his single biggest deficit reduction measure.
Mr Osborne will argue that the Budget does deliver on compassionate Conservatism, saying: “This Budget will lift 1.3 million of the lowest paid out of income tax, it will deliver improvements to our schools, help the least well-off to save, and support business and enterprise to create jobs and boost social mobility.
“It also charts a course through the global economic uncertainty to ensure that Britain pays its way in the world.
“It is a Budget of a compassionate, one nation Conservative government determined to deliver both social justice and economic security. It’s a Budget that puts the next generation first.”
Robert Chote, the chairman of the Office of Budget Responsibility, will appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee to explain how the Budget numbers add up in the absence of the £4.4bn cut to Personal Independence Payments.
Number 10 indicated that full plans will not be available until the Autumn Statement in November or December.
The Government has already announced further U-turns on last week’s Budget.
Opposition amendments on the tampon tax, and on VAT for solar panels, were accepted by the Government yesterday.
Labour say this is the first time an Opposition amendment has been adopted in a Budget.
No Tory rebellion is expected on the key Budget “Ways and Means” vote tomorrow, which is an issue of confidence in the Government.