On the only previous occasion S&P dropped the UK's outlook from stable to negative, George Osborne - then the shadow Chancellor - was quick to highlight its significance:
It's now clear that Britain's economic reputation is on the line at the next general election, another reason for bringing the date forward and having that election now.
For the first time since these ratings began in 1978, the outlook for British debt has been downgraded from stable to negative.
The comments are in marked contrast to his recent views on the issue.
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He suggested people who are not concerned about the new notes donate their bodies for 'decorative use in future five pound notes'.