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Osborne speaks about 'overwhelming' Thatcher funeral

George Osborne has said that he had found the funeral of Baroness Thatcher an "overwhelming" occasion.

The Chancellor was caught on camera wiping away tears during the service last week at St Paul's Cathedral, said it had been "a very, very powerful and emotional" event.

Watch: George Osborne sheds tears at Thatcher's funeral

"I welled up a bit because I thought it was a very emotional and moving occasion and at times overwhelming," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"I think it was a fitting tribute to someone's life and in a sense a great State occasion as well.

The combination of the sermon and the music and so on made for a very, very powerful and emotional moment."

George Osborne pictured at Baroness thatcher's funeral.
George Osborne pictured at Baroness thatcher's funeral. Credit: Christopher Furlong/WPA Rota/Press Association Images

Mr Osborne appeared uncomfortable when presenter John Humphrys tried to press him on whether he was the sort of person who does weep occasionally.

"Well, I was caught on camera so I can't deny that it (happened)," he said.

"Occasionally I get a tear in my eye, sometimes just when I listen to the Today programme headlines, but on this occasion it was a much more moving moment."

Read more: Softer side of the Iron Lady revealed in biography

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Alexander doesn't want to connect Philpott and welfare

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said he did not want to connect the Philpott case to the need for welfare reform.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Senior Liberal Democrats have not entered the row which has seen David Cameron back Chancellor George Osborne's comments that the case prompted "wider questions about our welfare system."

Mr Alexander said: "The Philpott case is an individual tragedy. Children have died in that case.

"I think that is where we should let that case lie. I would not want to connect that to the much wider need to reform our welfare system."

Exclusive: Mick Philpott's sister 'he deserves to die'.

Watch: Ed Balls - Chancellor's 'cyncial. nasty, divisive' Philpott link.

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PM: Osborne's Philpott remarks 'absolutely right'

The Prime Minister said the Chancellor's remarks about the Philpott case "were absolutely right".

Watch: Osborne: Why are we subsidising lifestyles like Philpott's?

He said: "I think what George Osborne said was absolutely right.

"He said that Mr Philpott was the one to blame for his crimes and he should be held responsible but what the Chancellor went on to say is we should ask some wider questions about our welfare system - how much it costs and the signals that it sends.

"We do want to make clear that welfare is there to help people who work hard, it shouldn't be there as a lifestyle choice and I think that's entirely legitimate."

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Balls: Osborne 'cynically' using Philpott in benefits row

The shadow chancellor Ed Balls has condemned the "nasty and divisive" comments by George Osborne in which he questions why taxpayers' money was being used to "subsidise lifestyles" like Mick Philpott:

I believe George Osborne's calculated decision to use the shocking and vile crimes of Mick Philpott to advance a political argument is the cynical act of a desperate Chancellor.

Our main thought at this time should be about the six children who tragically lost their lives, and the others in the family who have been left to mourn their loss.

We should have a proper debate about welfare reform.

And we should discuss what action needs to be taken to tackle the scourge of long-term unemployment including the need for a compulsory jobs guarantee so that people cannot languish on the dole for years and years on end.

But for the Chancellor to link this wider debate to this shocking crime is nasty and divisive and demeans his office.

National

Fury over where the blame should fall for Derby deaths

Where the ultimate blame should lay for the deaths of six of Mick Philpott's children is at the centre of fierce debate.

Editor and founder of the Guido Fawkes blog Paul Staines and Independent columnist Owen Jones amplified that debate on ITV's This Morning.

Editor of the Guido Fawkes blog Paul Staines and Independent columnist Owen Jones
Editor of the Guido Fawkes blog Paul Staines and Independent columnist Owen Jones Credit: ITV/This Morning

Paul Staines levelled the blame at the welfare state while Owen Jones said that was like blaming Harold Shipman on the NHS.

Watch the interview in full on This Morning's website.

National

Osborne's remarks on Philpott case a 'total disgrace'

Labour MP for Middlesbrough Andy McDonald has accused George Osborne on Twitter of "trying to make capital" out of the Philpott case:

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Total disgrace that Osborne tries to make capital out of the appalling Philpott case. Typical Tory demonization of anyone on benefits.

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