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Why is the budget response just given by the Leader of the Opposition rather than the Shadow Chancellor, who sits next to him?

  • Can you exlpain the reason for why it wasn't expected for Ed Balls to do so? And what does the competence have to do with it (and what information would you envision in the answer to address that which isn't subjective opinion)? – user4012 Mar 20 '13 at 18:02
  • @DVK - Re expectation, was my mistake, I didn't realize the LOTO normally does it. Re the importance of competence, coming across badly in this speech can damage the opposition electorally, which would give them a reason to change. Re subjective opinion - the overwhelming opinion in the media seems to be to be that Ed Balls fluffed his response to the most recent Autumn Statement, and that Ed Miliband performed well in his response today. It may be subjective, but it seems to be the majority opinion, I'm not sure how you'd define an objective measure for it. – DenverCoder9 Mar 20 '13 at 19:20
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From the website of the UK Parliament:

What happens after the Chancellor's Budget speech?

Traditionally, the Leader of the Opposition, rather than the Shadow Chancellor replies to the Budget speech.

So the answer is: tradition.

(See also HM Treasury's guide to the Budget.)

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  • This is also the case in Australia; the Treasurer gives the budget speech and the Leader of the Opposition gives the right of reply – KJ Tsanaktsidis Mar 24 '13 at 12:18

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