POLITICS

George Osborne Accused Of 'Callous' View Of Mental Health After Making Joke About John McDonnell's 'Marbles'

19/01/2016 13:33 GMT | Updated 19/01/2016 17:59 GMT

George Osborne has been accused of making fun of mental health issues after he accused John McDonnell of having "lost his marbles".

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, the chancellor had a dig at Labour's shadow chancellor "If I could gently suggest he might want to change his own economic policy," he said.

"In the last week he has called for the return of flying pickets, he wants to ban companies paying dividends and he wants to spend billions of pounds on nuclear missile submarines without any nuclear missiles."

Osborne added: "Today he says he is going to tour the country with former greek finance minister Mr Varoufakis to educate us all about economics. The one thing they’ve got in common is they’ve both lost their marbles."

Labour MP Kate Osamor used a point of order to ask the Speaker, John Bercow, to reprimand Osborne for the joke. "He used the term 'has he lost his marbles' which I feel was very unparliamentary.

Osamor, who was recently appointed a shadow equalities minister by Jeremy Corbyn, added: "Also I would like to say this comment comes in the week when the government has been exposed as leaving mental health services underfunded. What the chancellor has said goes to the heart of their callous attitude towards vulnerable people."

Bercow said Osborne's joke had not been unparliamentary and appeared to be made in a "jocular" spirit. However he added: "We all have to weigh our words carefully and think of the possible implications of language chosen."

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