PMQs: Leaders clash over AstraZeneca


David Cameron and Ed Miliband have clashed over US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer's bid for British rival AstraZeneca, during the final prime minister's questions of the parliamentary term.

Mr Miliband said Mr Cameron could offer no assurances that the takeover would not lead to cuts in research and development spending and jobs.

He accused the prime minister of being ideologically opposed to blocking a takeover "because he's falling back on the old idea that the market always knows best".

But Mr Cameron insisted his government was getting "stuck in" to secure the best deal for British jobs, investment and science, "which is the right thing to do".

"We'll do everything we can do make those guarantees that we've received - and he would have got nothing - as firm as possible," the PM added on 14 May 2014.

Mr Cameron noted the Labour leader had turned down a meeting with the boss of Pfizer because he was "too busy" canvassing for the upcoming elections.

"He quite literally put party politics ahead of the national interests," he said of Mr Miliband.

The exchanges came after the bosses of the companies gave evidence to the Science and Technology Committee, a day after their appearance before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

At the beginning of the exchanges, Mr Miliband welcomed figures showing a fall in unemployment to a five-year low of 2.2 million in the three months to March.

Mr Cameron told the Commons the news was proof his government's "long-term economic plan is working".

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