UK Politics

David Cameron rebuffs 'Thatcher's children' jibe

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Media captionDavid Cameron: "I'd rather be the child of Thatcher than a son of Brown."

David Cameron and Ed Miliband have traded barbs in the House of Commons over a revelation in US diplomatic cables obtained by website Wikileaks.

Accusing the PM of being "out of touch", the Labour leader said it was no wonder Mr Cameron's "gang" described themselves as "children of Thatcher".

The PM hit back: "I would rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown".

William Hague was quoted in a US cable saying he and other top Tories were "Thatcher's children".

The April 2008 cable, by the US embassy's deputy mission chief Richard LeBaron says Mr Hague, then shadow foreign secretary, briefed him on the "near death" experience for the Conservatives of the election that never was a few months earlier - and reassured the Americans about the "special relationship".

"Hague asserted that he, Cameron, and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne are all 'children of Thatcher' and staunch Atlanticists but acknowledged that the network of ties once binding the British public to America may not be as thick for all citizens of Britain," writes Mr LeBaron.

'Fastest recoveries'

During a noisy Prime Minister's questions, Mr Miliband attacked Mr Cameron over a report by the Office for Budget Responsibility, and called on him to admit "this the most sluggish recovery out of recession in Britain for the last 40 years".

Mr Cameron replied that it was "one of the fastest recoveries in Europe" and said that if the country had followed Labour's policies "we would be discussing meltdown".

He then seized on reports of unrest within Labour over Mr Miliband's leadership, saying: "You have been doing the job for the last three months and people are beginning to ask 'when are you going to start?'."

Mr Miliband then referred to the Wikileaks revelation about Mr Hague, telling the PM: "It's no wonder that today we learn that the Foreign Secretary describes this gang as the children of Thatcher.

"It sounds just like the 1980s: out of touch with people up and down the country.

"Why don't you admit that you are complacent about the recovery, you are complacent about the people who will lose their jobs and it is they who will pay the price?"

A laughing Mr Cameron dismissed the attack and claimed Mr Miliband was "not waving but drowning".

"My mother is still with us so she will be able to testify that what you have claimed is not literally true," said Mr Cameron, 43.

"But let me say this: I would rather be a child of Thatcher than a son of Brown."

His jibe was greeted with loud cheers from the Conservative benches, forcing Speaker John Bercow to call for order.

The cables, obtained by whistleblowing website Wikileaks, also include a string of revelations about Bank of England governor Mervyn King's concern about Mr Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne's lack of experience ahead of May's general election.

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