Osborne warning prompts dramatic response

George Osborne Image copyright PA

The most drastic warning yet in a campaign laced with fear, has met its most drastic response.

George Osborne, together with the former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, vows today that the hit to the economy would be so great if we vote to leave the EU that he'd hold a Budget with cuts and tax rises almost immediately.

But in retaliation, in a direct challenge to George Osborne's authority, 57 Tory MPs, including former cabinet ministers, have issued a statement, incredulous at the chancellor's behaviour - saying it is absurd to make a political promise to punish voters in this way - to break Conservative manifesto promises.

Most seriously for a government with a tiny majority, they say they would vote to block such a Budget, making Mr Osborne's position untenable.

As the chancellor threatens drastic action - so too, by suggesting an open coup against him, his internal opponents threaten him.

Whatever you decide a week tomorrow, the governing party may be changed for good.

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