UK Prime Minister David Cameron showed his “volatile” side in an argument at Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament on Thursday.
In an exchange over the deficit and the government’s economic track record, the Daily Mail reports, Cameron called shadow Chancellor Ed Balls a “muttering idiot” in an unexpected, heated outburst. He said:
“What we need to do both in Britain and Europe is to combine deficit reduction, which has given us the low interest rates, with an active monetary policy, with structural reforms to make us competitive, and with innovative ways of using our hard-won credibility, which we wouldn’t have if we listened to the muttering idiot sitting opposite me.”
The phrase prompted “hooting” from the Tory benches, while Labour MPs were quick to call Cameron “Flashman”, a reference to the bully in the book “Tom Brown’s Schooldays“. The Commons Speaker John Bercow, while suppressing a smile himself, called on Cameron to retract the “unparliamentary” insult. Cameron replaced the word “idiot” with “the man who left us with this enormous deficit and this financial crisis”.
According to MPs on Twitter, Balls’ suggestion to Cameron to “chillax, and have another glass of wine”, a reference to claims in a recently-published book on the PM, is what sent him over the edge. Balls has denied this.
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