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 The speaker asked for the remark to be withdrawn.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.

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Jeremy Corbyn's Labour conference speech shows how he's grown

The leader's confident address will have impressed even his fiercest foes. 

It is not just Jeremy Corbyn’s mandate that has been improved by his re-election. The Labour leader’s conference speech was, by some distance, the best he has delivered. He spoke with far greater confidence, clarity and energy than previously. From its self-deprecating opening onwards ("Virgin Trains assure me there are 800 empty seats") we saw a leader improved in almost every respect. 

Even Corbyn’s firecest foes will have found less to take issue with than they may have anticipated. He avoided picking a fight on Trident (unlike last year), delivered his most forceful condemnation of anti-Semitism (“an evil”) and, with the exception of the Iraq war, avoided attacks on New Labour’s record. The video which preceded his arrival, and highlighted achievements from the Blair-Brown years, was another olive branch. But deselection, which Corbyn again refused to denounce, will remain a running sore (MPs alleged that Hillsborough campaigner Sheila Coleman, who introduced Corbyn, is seeking to deselect Louise Ellman and backed the rival TUSC last May).

Corbyn is frequently charged with lacking policies. But his lengthy address contained several new ones: the removal of the cap on council borrowing (allowing an extra 60,000 houses to be built), a ban on arms sales to abusive regimes and an arts pupil premium in every primary school.

On policy, Corbyn frequently resembles Ed Miliband in his more radical moments, unrestrained by Ed Balls and other shadow cabinet members. He promised £500bn of infrastructure investment (spread over a decade with £150bn from the private sector), “a real living wage”, the renationalisation of the railways, rent controls and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour’s greatest divisions are not over policy but rules, strategy and culture. Corbyn’s opponents will charge him with doing far too little to appeal to the unconverted - Conservative voters most of all. But he spoke with greater conviction than before of preparing for a general election (acknowledging that Labour faced an arithmetical “mountain”) and successfully delivered the attack lines he has often shunned.

“Even Theresa May gets it, that people want change,” he said. “That’s why she stood on the steps of Downing Street and talked about the inequalities and burning injustices in today’s Britain. She promised a country: ‘that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us’. But even if she manages to talk the talk, she can’t walk the walk. This isn’t a new government, it’s David Cameron’s government repackaged with progressive slogans but with a new harsh right-wing edge, taking the country backwards and dithering before the historic challenges of Brexit.”

After a second landslide victory, Corbyn is, for now, unassailable. Many MPs, having voted no confidence in him, will never serve on the frontbench. But an increasing number, recognising Corbyn’s immovability, speak once again of seeking to “make it work”. For all the ructions of this summer, Corbyn’s speech will have helped to persuade them that they can.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.