Damp Squib: David Cameron Dismisses Strikes And Brands Ed Miliband As 'Left Wing And Weak'

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DAVID CAMERON
David Cameron was described as 'trembling with rage' at PMQs | PA

David Cameron has branded the public sector strikes as a "damp squib" after attacking Labour leader Ed Miliband for being "irresponsible, left wing and weak."

In a vicious war of words at PMQs he lashed out at the opposition with some commentators tweeting saying he was "trembling with rage".

According to the PM around 40% of schools are open, only 18 out of 930 job centres are closed and only a third of the civil service is on strike.

During the tense exchange the prime minister hit out at the industrial action which had led to his own press secretary volunteering to man a border at Heathrow airport.

"I don't want to see any strikes, I don't want to see schools close, I don't want to see problems at our borders", he told MPs.

And Cameron accused Labour of being "in the pocket of trade union leaders" and unwilling to confront the need to reform public sector pensions.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband hit back, saying he was proud of workers supporting his party and it was "better that, than millions from Lord Ashcroft".

Miliband accused Cameron of being "out of touch" with "decent hard working people", asking: "Why does the prime minister think so many decent, hard-working public sector workers... feel the government simply isn't listening."

Public sector union the PCS have hit back at the government's claims, saying the strike has led to "real disruption." They claim that courts are closed across Britain and at the Student Loans Company in Glasgow out of 1,200 staff only about 20 have gone into work.

And Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said two million workers were no "damp squib"

“Cameron is sounding increasingly desperate in his attacks on public service workers. He has only to turn on the TV, or listen to the radio – or look out the window - to see the nurses, dinner ladies, paramedics, social workers, teaching assistants, lollipop ladies amongst others standing up for their pensions. And the thousands of picket lines, demonstrations, rallies and events are not a figment of our imagination. These people are angry public servants who the Government has driven to the end of their tether."

According to figures from the Department for Education, 58% of England's 21,700 state schools are closed, with another 13% partly affected. In Scotland, only 30 council-run schools are reported to be open, while 80% of schools are shut in Wales and 50% in Northern Ireland.

The NHS has also been disrupted, with NHS managers reporting that 6,000 out of 30,000 operations have been cancelled across the UK.