PM ‘did not mislead’ parliament over spending cuts

By Liz Stephens

Downing Street has insisted Gordon Brown “did not mislead parliament” over the necessity for wide-ranging public spending cuts.

Earlier today shadow chancellor George Osborne alleged that the prime minister had misled MPs on the scale of Labour’s planned spending cuts.

Mr Osborne said the Tories had been handed leaked Treasury documents in a “proverbial brown envelope”.

The Treasury have confirmed that the permanent secretary has initiated a leak inquiry.

Mr Osborne said: “These are the internal government projections for spending – and they show that the government has been planning since the Budget a near ten per cent cut in departmental budgets.”

Downing Street refused to comment on a specific leaked document but said that spending plans for 2010-11 have not yet been fixed.

“I’m not going to comment on a specific leaked document,” the prime minister’s spokesman said.

“The prime minister did not mislead parliament.”

His comments were backed up by a Treasury spokesman who told “The Chancellor made clear at the time of the Budget that he would not set out detailed spending plans for departments beyond 2010-11 due to the significant uncertainties around the future path of the economy, including what happens to unemployment and to tax receipts.

“No plans have been made beyond the current spending period.”