Cameron draws blood

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron brutally mocked Gordon Brown’s relationship with Alistair Darling today, after an interview with Sky News saw the chancellor admit Downing Street unleashed “the forces of hell” against him.

The timing of the row could not have been better for the Tory leader, as he launched into an attack on Mr Brown in today’s PMQs – the first since parliament’s half-term break.

Mr Cameron demanded that Mr Brown repeat his assurances on GMTV this morning that he would never tell anyone to speak against his chancellor “with a straight face”.

PMQs as-it-happened

“This is the nearest he’s got to talking about the economy in months,” Mr Brown replied, but the attacks from the Tory leader did not stop.

When Mr Brown and Mr Darling whispered to each other during one of Mr Cameron’s attacks he told MPs: “Any closer and they’ll start kissing.”

He added: “It was this prime minister that put character at the heart of the election. Why does the ‘moral compass’ always point at someone else?”

“He’s not doing very well,” Mr Brown replied.

Brown tries to limit damage from Darling comments

“I’d rather be defending my chancellor than defending his,” the prime minister added before defending Mr Darling’s decision during the financial crisis.

“If the chancellor was right why did he [Brown] try to get rid of him?” Mr Cameron asked.

At one point the session became so heated Speaker John Bercow threatened to suspend it, before joking that unless the shouting stopped he would be phoning up a bullying helpline himself.

Mr Darling’s comments last night referred to his 2008 prediction that the recession would be the worst for 60 years.

At the time the quote was taken to contradict the government’s optimistic approach to the financial crisis, but his comments were later taken as being more in line with reality than the majority of speculation at the time.