Never has the adage that David Cameron uses his Liberal Democrat colleagues as human shields been so true. Expanding the repertoire of parliamentary choreography, Osborne has not only been “doughnuted” by Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander but completely obscures the prime minister from the main TV camera in the Commons chamber.

Peek-a-boo! Cameron is seated directly behind Gideon and – crucially – out of the way of the troublesome dispatch box camera used for 95% of news packages:

So, where are prime ministers supposed to sit during difficult budgets? Here’s a clue:

Front benchers are acutely aware of the (usually positive) impact of proximity to the speaking member.

The seating arrangement obscuring Cameron is no accident.

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