Ed Balls was always going to have a tough time responding to George Osborne's Autumn Statement today, and it did not go well.
The shadow chancellor had barely stood up before the Speaker had to intervene to try and calm down giddy Tory backbench MPs who are relieved to finally see signs of growth in the economy.
Balls' accusation that the government was in "complete denial" over living standards drew uproar from Conservatives, who feel it is Labour that is in denial about an economic recovery.
He was forced to shout, red faced, his entire response over a cacophony of noise hurled at him from across the chamber. By contrast the Labour backbenches were far quieter.
"For all his boasts and utterly breathtaking complacency the chancellor is in complete denial about the central fact which is defining this government in office. Under this chancellor under this prime minister for most people in our country living standards aren't rising they are falling year on year," Balls said.
But his message on living standards, which does resonate with voters, was largely overshadowed by his need to yell in order to be heard. Much to the delight of Osborne and David Cameron.
And while the shadow chancellor had prepared some, relatively, good jokes for the occasion, including one about the statement being a Christmas "turkey" - it was Osborne's mocking of Balls' piano lessons that landed. "I think he should have gone ahead with the chopsticks rendition," the chancellor said. "After his performance today I can see why he expects to have a lot more time to practice."
Osborne added: "The only turkey around here was the speech he's just given."
A Labour source told Sky News: "Labour has a very strong economic argument to make. Unfortunately it was not made well in the Chamber today."
Balls later told reporters: "It was very very loud. I'm not going to allow 300 Tory MPs to drown me out."Suggest a correction