Tom Harwood: Sir Lindsay Hoyle right to remind ministers not to brief before a Budget

Parliament, not Government is sovereign.

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A hike in the minimum wage, cheaper Prosecco, higher air passenger duty.

£500m for family hubs.

£850m for museums.

£5m for veterans.

£6bn more to tackle England’s NHS waiting lists.

A £7 billion regional transport overhaul.

It feels like there’s very little of the upcoming budget left to announce.

Over a dozen press releases have been sent out from the treasury in the last week or so, pre-announcing the eye catching measures of the Budget.

Almost £26 billion in extra spending has been announced ahead of the official statement in the House of Commons, a fact that has not escaped the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Yesterday Lindsay Hoyle berated the Government of its atypical press release strategy, accusing the Chancellor of “riding roughshod” over MPs. “Ministers must make important announcements first to this chamber,” he said, referencing the long standing rules of Parliament, where MPs must hear new government announcements first.

He went on to say “it’s evident that the government Treasury briefed journalists on the content of the forthcoming budget over the weekend, including on NHS funding.”

And here’s where it gets interesting.

A clearly frustrated speaker went on to say: “At one time, ministers did the right thing if they briefed before a budget – they walked,” Adding “Yes, absolutely, they resigned.”

The words of the Speaker of the House of Commons.

And he’s right.

Hugh Dalton was Clement Attlee’s first Chancellor of the Exchequer.

That was up until 1947 when he resigned.

Why? Because he - seemingly inadvertently - revealed a sentence of his budget to a reporter minutes before delivering his budget speech.

Yes in 1947 that was a resigning offence.

Now it appears to be mandatory.

Feel free to call me old fashioned but the traditions of the House of Commons mean something.

Parliament, not Government is sovereign.

Antiquated rules that have stood the test of centuries are there for a reason, and the erosion of those conventions should not be taken lightly.