Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Cameron rapped over 'phoney' jibe

David Cameron calls Gordon Brown 'a complete phoney'

Conservative leader David Cameron has been rebuked by Commons speaker Michael Martin after he called Prime Minister Gordon Brown a "complete phoney".

Mr Cameron was forced to withdraw the remark during a stormy prime minister's questions in the Commons.

He was criticising Mr Brown over an interview in which the PM said the focus in politics "on who said what, when, how and why" was "divisive".

MPs are banned from personal abuse or accusing each other of lying.

'Regret'

Mr Cameron accused the prime minister of being "in denial" over the scale of the recession as Mr Brown said the rising jobless total was a "matter of personal regret for me and for the whole government".

With the unemployment figure surging past two million, Mr Brown pledged not to "walk by on the other side" and the government would do "everything we can" to help people get back into work.

But Mr Cameron attacked the prime minister for presiding over the biggest dole queue rise "since records began" and again urged him to apologise.

The pair then clashed over economic stimulus policy, with Mr Brown quoting shadow business secretary Ken Clarke saying the taxpayer would have to take "some of the hit" for Conservative proposals.

Mr Cameron hit back by quoting an interview with Mr Brown in The Guardian, in which he said the emphasis on "who said what, when, how and why" was "far too divisive to meet the problems of the country".

"What a complete phoney," added Mr Cameron.

Before he could continue, Mr Martin stepped in to say: "That remark should be withdrawn and properly withdrawn".

Mr Cameron said he was "happy" to withdraw the comment, before carrying on with his attack.



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