A health minister has sidestepped calls to apologise for repeating a claim that “austerity has been the mother of invention”.
Jackie Doyle-Price faced criticism in the Commons after she noted the comment had been made to her by a council leader, as she defended the Government’s investment in social care.
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth used Twitter to describe the remark as “jaw dropping” before shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne added in the Commons: “I’m astounded that a minister of the Crown thinks that austerity is the mother of invention.”
Ms Doyle-Price tried to intervene, prompting Mr Gwynne to add: “Let me finish and I’ll let her in if she wants to apologise.
“It’s a play on words of the old English proverb that necessity is the mother of invention.
“Now, let me tell the minister – she might be quoting a councillor but she didn’t deny it was her view too – there’s nothing necessary about austerity, it’s a political choice and a choice that’s driving up inequality and unfairness.”
Ms Doyle-Price, allowed to intervene, said: “Firstly I think I need to remind you that the only money we can spend is that what we collect from taxpayers.
“I pay tribute to the innovation shown by local authority leaders that deliver better outcomes with less money. That’s good value for money. That should be celebrated by that side of the House too.”