Cameron fails citizenship test on David Letterman show

Prime Minister left red-faced after he fails to give the English for Magna Carta.

While it wasn't the toughest interrogation he'll ever face, David Cameron still endured several awkward moments during his appearance on the David Letterman show last night. Challenged by Letterman to name who composed Rule Britannia as part of a mock British citizenship test, Cameron incorrectly answered "Elgar" (the correct answer, as revealed at the end of the show, was the little-known Thomas Arne). Less forgivable, perhaps, was the Prime Minister's failure to know the English for Magna Carta (Grand Charter), an omission that won't have impressed the Latinophile Boris Johnson. "You have found me out. That is bad, I have ended my career on your show tonight," Cameron joked at one point.

He went on to redeem himself, in the eyes of US viewers at least, by successfully explaining the difference between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and by displaying some awareness of the complex history of Anglo American relations. "We interfered in your politics 200 years ago when we sailed up the river and burnt the White House," Cameron said, in reference to the war of 1812.

The full video isn't available yet, but you can watch a short clip of the interview above.

David Cameron joked "I have ended my career" after stumbling over a series of questions on British history.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Exclusive: Labour MEPs call for Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader

Letter demands Corbyn's departure and attacks his office for "promoting" the work of the Leave campaign. 

Labour's MEPs have called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign in the latest challenge to his leadership. In a letter sent to Corbyn and leaked to the New Statesman, Glenis Willmott, the chair of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP), wrote: "We find it hard to see how any Labour leader can continue in that role if they do not have the support of their MPs." Corbyn yesterday lost a no confidence vote among the Parliamentary Labour Party by 176 to 40. The letter also attacked the leader's office for an "official Labour briefing document" which "promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign."

The demand for Corbyn's resignation is described by sources as the "majority position" of Labour's 20 MEPs. Their stance could prove crucial if the leader is not automatically included in any new contest (a matter of legal dispute) and is required to seek 50 nominations from MP/MEPs (20 per cent of the total). 

The letter reads: 

"The European Parliamentary Labour Party met today for its first meeting since the referendum and concluded that we should send you this letter today.

"The EPLP has always striven to have a loyal and constructive relationship with our party leader, and we have worked hard to cooperate with you over recent months. However, we have very serious concerns in the light of Labour's defeat in the referendum campaign.

"Responsiblity for the UK leaving the EU lies with David Cameron. That being said, we were simply astounded that on Friday morning, as news of the result sank in, an official Labour briefing document promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign.

"Labour's loyal and dedicated teams of activists had just spent weeks on the doorstep and on street-stalls making the case to remain in the EU and countering leave campaign arguments. Yet you and your office authorised a briefing that put the whole Labour campaign on a par with two Labour politicians who had been appearing for weeks alongside right-wing politicians, such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

"Separate from the referendum issue, it has become clear in recent days that you do not have the confidence of the Parliamentary Labour Party. We find it hard to see how many Labour leader can continue in that role if they do not have the support of their MPs.

"So it it with a heavy heart that we urge you, for the sake of the Labour Party and for the people in our country who need a Labour government, to reconsider your position as Labour leader."

Yours sincerely,

Glenis Wilmott MEP

On behalf of the European Parliamentary Labour Party 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.