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Cameron has confidence in Osborne, says spokeswoman


Cameron has confidence in Osborne, says spokeswoman

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LONDON – David Cameron “absolutely” backs his Chancellor after a senior MP quit over budget cuts, his spokeswoman said on Monday, as the British leader tried to unite an increasingly divided party.

Cameron was left “puzzled and disappointed” on Friday when senior MP and former leader of the Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith, resigned his post over cuts to disability benefits which were outlined in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget last week.

The sudden departure of Duncan Smith not only widened divisions in the ruling party, split over whether to stay in the European Union, but also prompted calls from the opposition Labour Party for Osborne to step down.

Asked whether Cameron had complete confidence in Osborne, the prime minister’s spokeswoman told reporters: “Absolutely.”

“We’ve faced … tough decisions about how the country lives within its means and he (Cameron) has worked very closely with the Chancellor and other ministers on that to date, and will continue to do so.”

She said Cameron would no longer pursue the cuts to disability benefits, meaning a loss for the budget of 4.4 billion pounds.

Osborne, once seen as a frontrunner to succeed Cameron, will outline how he will fill that hole in the Autumn statement, she said, referring to one of two statements, usually held in October or November, when the government makes its economic forecasts.

“The Chancellor has already said that he is looking at this issue and yes we will set out our approach at the Autumn statement,” she said. (Reuters)