Conservative Diary

« Conservatism, love, evolution - and why reciprocal altruism just doesn't cut it | Main | What George Osborne will now do to Mervyn King »

Cameron tells the Commons at PMQS: "I'd rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown"

By Jonathan Isaby

Verdict: A good win for Cameron; he was completely on top of the economic figures, making Ed Miliband appear very confused. The put-downs about the Labour leader's failure to have offered a coherent alternative strategy or indeed to offer any leadership are resonating. And the Tory benches delighted in the line quoted in the headline above.

Picture 2 David Cameron flew back from backing the World Cup Bid in Zurich to take Prime Minister's Questions today (he will fly back to Switzerland later for the closing stages of the Fifa gathering).

Of the bid, he said that it was "very strong" in terms of the stadia, the facilities, transport networks and enthusiasm to be found in this country and said it was absolutely right for him to be in Zurich backing the bid: "If you don't get onto the pitch, there's no chance of winning". Ed Miliband gave his full backing to the bid too and David Cameron welcomed the cross party support.

The exchanges between Cameron and Miliband concentrated on the economy, with the Labour leader asking why the Office for Budget Responsibility is saying unemployment will rise. Cameron pointed out that these were the first independent forecasts - now not interfered with the the Chancellor - but that the predictions had not been altered for next year and that increases in employment were predicting throughout the period covered.

In response to Miliband talking about the prospect of growth slowing, Cameron retorted that he was determined to talk the economy down but will find it difficult to find depressing statistics in the OBR report, there is lots of good news. "Why doesn't debate how get the growth rate up? Has he anything to say or is it another blank page?"

Picture 3 Miliband said he would raise VAT or cut £20 billion in public spending and asked when unemployment would rise to pre-crisis levels. Cameron replied that this Government inherited it at 8% and it is due to be 6% by the end of the Parliament.

Miliband accused Cameron of complacency when people are worried about their jobs and so on, but David Cameron hit back by saying that if the Government had followed any of his advice, Britain would be being linked with Portugal and Ireland in terms of needing a bailout. In response to a further claim from Miliband about a sluggish recovery, Cameron said it was "one of the fastest in Europe". He said of the Labour leader: "He's being doing the job for three months: people are beginning to ask when he's going to start".

Miliband then prayed in aid the William Hague quote which has come out this morning through wikileaks, referring to leading Tories as "Children of Thatcher". Cameron replied with the quote of the day: "I'd rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown".

In other questions:

  • Philip Hollobone asked why Ireland couldn't be persuaded to take back Irish prisoners in British jails. Cameron said he had a very good point and that he would get Ken Clarke to look at it.
  • Another Tory backbencher, Richard Fuller, branded Ed Miliband a "novice out of his depth" on economic matters and urged Cameron to resist his demands to scale back deficit reduction measures. The PM said the country had needed a plan, it now had a plan and he would be sticking to it. 
  • Ex-Labour sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe asked about school sports and Cameron said there would be an announcement "soon" about what will work best on the ground in terms of school sport.
  • Witham MP Priti Patel urged the Government to put the human rights of the law abiding majority above those of convicted criminals; the PM said that his desire was to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights, there would be no better solution than that and that he was looking at how to go about doing that.

3.30pm update: Watch the BBC highlights of the exchanges culminating in Cameron declaring "I'd rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown":



You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.