Cameron loses his rag: 5 of the best

Video clips of the Prime Minister losing his temper.

David Cameron's temper is becoming legendary (and not in a good way), with Ed Miliband making concerted efforts to rile him in Prime Minister's Questions. It's a clear weak spot. Last week, the Labour leader said that he hoped Cameron would be getting anger management lessons before his appearance at the Leveson inquiry. After Cameron lost his temper again today, we have collated five of his "finest" moments.

1. The muttering idiot

Ed Balls takes great delight in teasing Cameron at PMQs, and hit his target today, being called the 'muttering idiot opposite' by Cameron. The speaker asked for the remark to be withdrawn.

2. “Calm down dear”

Cameron alienates feminists (and Michael Winner-haters) everywhere by telling Angela Eagle MP to “calm down dear, calm down, calm down” when he mistakenly said Dr Howard Stoate had lost his seat in the previous election. He hadn't, he'd stood down.

3. Help the aged

Dennis Skinner, 80, was told by the Prime Minister "Well, the honourable gentleman has the right, at any time, to take his pension and I advise him to do so," after the MP accused Cameron of letting Jeremy Hunt take the blame for his inappropriate relationships with News International. So that's the geriatric vote gone.

4. Balls again

It's fair to say the House of Commons sometimes has the atmosphere of the school room. Never more so than David Cameron's snapping at the two Eds as he heard them talking during his speech. He said “I wish the Shadow Chancellor would occasionally shut up and listen to the answer.” and labelled Balls “the most annoying person in modern politics”.

5. "I know you're frustrated"

Cameron hit the feminists again, patronising Nadine Dorries, when he said “I know you're very frustrated”, over the abortion debate, then tried to restrain his giggles. Statesmanlike.

Photograph: Getty Images
Photo: Getty
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Can Philip Hammond save the Conservatives from public anger at their DUP deal?

The Chancellor has the wriggle room to get close to the DUP's spending increase – but emotion matters more than facts in politics.

The magic money tree exists, and it is growing in Northern Ireland. That’s the attack line that Labour will throw at Theresa May in the wake of her £1bn deal with the DUP to keep her party in office.

It’s worth noting that while £1bn is a big deal in terms of Northern Ireland’s budget – just a touch under £10bn in 2016/17 – as far as the total expenditure of the British government goes, it’s peanuts.

The British government spent £778bn last year – we’re talking about spending an amount of money in Northern Ireland over the course of two years that the NHS loses in pen theft over the course of one in England. To match the increase in relative terms, you’d be looking at a £35bn increase in spending.

But, of course, political arguments are about gut instinct rather than actual numbers. The perception that the streets of Antrim are being paved by gold while the public realm in England, Scotland and Wales falls into disrepair is a real danger to the Conservatives.

But the good news for them is that last year Philip Hammond tweaked his targets to give himself greater headroom in case of a Brexit shock. Now the Tories have experienced a shock of a different kind – a Corbyn shock. That shock was partly due to the Labour leader’s good campaign and May’s bad campaign, but it was also powered by anger at cuts to schools and anger among NHS workers at Jeremy Hunt’s stewardship of the NHS. Conservative MPs have already made it clear to May that the party must not go to the country again while defending cuts to school spending.

Hammond can get to slightly under that £35bn and still stick to his targets. That will mean that the DUP still get to rave about their higher-than-average increase, while avoiding another election in which cuts to schools are front-and-centre. But whether that deprives Labour of their “cuts for you, but not for them” attack line is another question entirely. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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