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Osborne sticking to economic course

George Osborne has insisted the coalition Government would not deviate from its economic course despite a drubbing at the polls and a furious backlash from within his own party.

The Chancellor conceded the elections had delivered a "tough result" for the Government and claimed he understood why voters had shown their anger at the ballot box.

Insisting "Britain doesn't duck its problems", he pledged ministers were working together to sort out the mess.

But as criticism continued to rain down on Mr Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron, maverick Tory Nadine Dorries, a vocal critic of the pair, went as far as to warn the leadership it could be ousted by Christmas.

"According to the rules of the backbench 1922 Committee, in order for David Cameron's position as leader to be challenged, the chairman of the committee needs to receive 46 signatures from Conservative MPs to signal a vote of no confidence," she told the Mail on Sunday. "I would guess that those signatures are already coming in and will reach 46 by Christmas."

The Chancellor said he took the blame for the way the Budget had backfired after tax cuts for low earners were overshadowed by the "granny tax" and the "pasty tax". He added: "Let me take it on the chin. Last week's elections produced a tough result for the Government at a tough time for the country.

"People know we've had to make unpopular decisions to fix the country's problems but they want us to remember that times aren't easy for families. So they are making sure that times aren't easy for the Government either. I get that."

"One thing matters more than whether the Government is popular at this point. It matters that it is right," he wrote.

Mr Osborne will on Sunday hit the television studios to defend the party's performance as the coalition begins its fightback. Mr Cameron and deputy Nick Clegg are expected to carry out a joint visit in the coming days as the two-year anniversary of the formation of the coalition, symbolised by the No 10 rose garden press conference, approaches.

They will use that to attempt to drive home the message that the Government is focusing on "jobs, growth and the economy", and restate the basic principles underpinning why the two parties joined forces.