Cameron urged to resist UKIP following Queen's Speech

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Peter Luff, a Conservative MP and former defence minister, took the opportunity of moving the loyal address following the Queen's Speech to advise the prime minister to resist calls to accommodate UKIP and back "aspiration".

He alluded to UKIP when he mentioned "other parties...with beguilingly simplistic agendas", and stressed that the "one nation" tradition "runs through the Conservative party like the lettering in seaside rock and it is by holding fast to that tradition that my party will be trusted to serve their nation".

He said that the effect of the bills in the Queen's Speech was "to encourage aspiration" and described a shortage of British engineers as "one of the greatest avoidable threats to our prosperity and our security".

Lib Dem MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams seconded the loyal address, emphasising the role of his party in promoting the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which has been carried over from the previous Parliament.

"The right of same-sex couples to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other and before their family and friends will be a lasting social reform of this Parliament," he said.

In another reference to UKIP, Mr Williams warned: "On the European Union, immigration and climate change, I believe leadership, not followship, is required."

UKIP, which received an average 25% share of votes in local elections on 2 May, also featured prominently in the response of Labour leader Ed Miliband.

"Insulting them, ignoring them, imitating them, will not work," said Mr Miliband. "They used to call them clowns, now they want to join the circus."

He argued more widely that the government has a "reality problem" and that "there is a living standards crisis in the country but no real action to tackle it in the speech".

In his reply, Prime Minister David Cameron told the opposition: "This is a government that has a solid record of being on the side who want to work hard and get on."

He criticised Mr Miliband as "too weak to stand up to his party on welfare", quipping that "the weak are a long time in politics".

Pressed by the SNP's Pete Wishart to offer a comment on UKIP, the prime minister stated: "If you want an in-out referendum on Europe the only way to get it will be supporting the Conservative Party."

He spoke forcefully on the measures in the Queen's Speech to reform immigration, arguing that "under the last government immigration was out of control" and the "tier system was a complete sham".

The Queen's Speech included 15 new bills covering areas such as pension reform, immigration policy, consumers' rights and National Insurance contributions.

At the start of the debate, Emma Lewell-Buck was introduced as the new Labour MP for South Shields.

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