George Osborne has dismissed the notion that he is a 'marmite Chancellor' and has told ITV Granada that he has always been 'realistic' with voters about the choice at the upcoming election.
In a wide-ranging interview with Party People, which airs tonight on ITV at 22:40, the Tatton MP said he did not believe his plan to cut 900,000 public sector jobs between 2010/11 and 2017/18 would mean public sector workers wouldn't vote for the Conservatives in May.
Mr Osborne says he believed most people 'see there is still a challenge' and that the choice at this General Election was between politicians 'who front up about the realistic choices we have to make' and those who 'pretend there aren't difficult decisions to make.'
The Chancellor announced plans last week to give Manchester town hall control of its entire NHS budget, worth £6 billion.
In the interview he denied it was an end to the National Health Service as we know it, and said it was 'a really exciting moment' for Manchester.
On the General Election, George Osborne refused to be drawn on whether his party would make a deal with UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the event of a hung Parliament after May 7th.
He reiterated his belief that the Conservatives can still win an overall majority, despite no opinion polls suggesting that is a current possibility.
The full interview with George Osborne will feature on Granada's political debate show Party People tonight at 22:40 on ITV.