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14 November 2011

Tory MP considers legal action over claims he insulted Cameron

Patrick Mercer allegedly called the Prime Minister a "despicable creature without any redeeming feat

By Samira Shackle

The Conservative MP Patrick Mercer is considering legal action over claims that he called David Cameron a “despicable creature without any redeeming features”.

The Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People both carried reports yesterday that Mercer had made a series of offensive remarks about the Prime Minister during a private function. Allegedly, he told a fellow guest that “a beggar off the street” would be preferable in Downing Street, and called his party leader “the worst politician in British history since William Gladstone”.

It is also claimed that Mercer said Cameron would be forced out within months: “He’ll go in the spring. He’ll resign in the spring.” Asked where the Prime Minister had gone wrong, Mercer allegedly replied: “Well, he was born.”

Mercer has refused to be drawn on the comments, saying only that he had “a conversation with a number of people” at the event, and that the recordings had been obtained by “subterfuge”. He strongly denied that the recordings back up the claims that he insulted the Prime Minister.

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“I have now put this in the hands of my lawyers,” Mercer told the Telegraph. “They have informed me to say nothing, either negative or positive, to anyone.”

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While Downing Street has yet to comment, the Conservative Party said that such comments would not necessarily require disciplinary action. Mercer, the MP for Newark, is a well-known critic of Cameron, and was sacked from his frontbench four years ago after making inappropriate comments about ethnic minority soldiers. He was one of the Conservative MPs who rebelled last month over a referendum on EU membership.