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From distant shores
This is me.
wllmhague
I am in Singapore today, meeting with business leaders and giving a speech on Britain's role in Asia. I hear that the atmosphere in Westminster has been explosive in my absence; I shall have to telephone the Culture Secretary for a personal update. 

Of course the economic news announced today has been dramatic and unfortunate, although not entirely surprising. In a global economic climate such as the one we live in, we could hardly hope to remain untouched by the difficulties of our European neighbours. Nonetheless, I remain fully convinced of the necessity of our present course, and I have perfect confidence in the leadership abilities of the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to extricate us from the mess Labour left behind. By the next election, Britain will be rescued from that abyss, and well on her way back to the wealth and prosperity which the hard work of her citizens have given her.

In local news, a young constituent of mine asked me recently whether there had ever been a Leader of the Opposition who had failed to become Prime Minister, stepped down, and then returned to become not only Leader but Prime Minister as well. I reassured her that no matter how dire Ed Miliband's performance became, Lord Kinnock would not reappear. She was, however, to be commended for an intriguing question...

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I believe you interpret those statistics rather differently than I do, Lord Mandelson. I do not deny that these are difficult times. But Labour's approach to solving this crisis - to plunge us deeper and deeper into debt, with an unsustainably high call upon our national resources - would cripple the economy for a generation. We must hold together behind the Chancellor and the Prime Minister and stay the course.

One cannot pay off debt without income. This chart shows that the coalition's slash and burn strategy is cutting of growth. It will prolong and deepen the economic crisis, not solve it.

We shall see, Lord Mandelson, we shall see.

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