PMQs 29 Feburary 2012 - Cameron Attacks Union Strike Threat

29/02/2012 11:02 | Updated 29 February 2012

David Cameron insisted today that Labour should start "turning back" donations from the Unite union after its general secretary called for civil disobedience during the London Olympics.

Labour leader Ed Miliband described Len McCluskey's comments, also threatening strike action during the Games, as "totally unacceptable and wrong".

But the prime minister said Miliband's intervention, in a message on Twitter, was not enough given Unite's financial support for the Labour Party.

"Unite is the single biggest donor to the party opposite, providing around a third of their money, and had more role than anybody else in putting the Right Honourable Gentleman (Miliband) in his place," Cameron said during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

"It's not good enough for them just to put out a Tweet, they need to condemn this utterly and start turning back the money," he said.

Tory MP Richard Graham, who said Mr McCluskey's remarks would "damage the reputation" of the UK, represented the views of "the whole country".

Downing Street earlier denounced the threat of strikes to disrupt the Olympics as "completely unacceptable and unpatriotic".

The party leaders also clashed over the government's controversial NHS Bill. Miliband said the government were 'digging their own burial" with the legislation, a warning it would cost them the next election.

"It's hard to keep track of opposition to this Bill," he said. "Every week that goes by more and more health organisations come out against this Bill."

But Cameron said Miliband opposed putting extra money into the health service and accused him of performing a U-turn on whether he supported key measures in the Bill.


29/02/2012 12:26 GMT

A leap day suggestion for coalition tension easing...

@ jreedmp :

RT @eugenehenry84: Is Clegg going to propose to Cameron today?

29/02/2012 12:25 GMT

Pretty good gag from Cameron about the happiness of Northern Ireland MPs

DUP MP Nigel Dodds says the "happiest people live in Northern Ireland". But he says the high price of petrol is threatening to make people sad.

Cameron responds with a pretty good gag: "I'm delighted to hear the people of Northern Ireland are the happiest in the UK…their representatives in this House don't always give that impression".

29/02/2012 12:24 GMT

One twitterer fed up with Mary Portas overload

@ AdamLake :

I'm sure she is very good but if I hear 'Mary Portas' mentioned one more time I'm going to scream #pmqs

29/02/2012 12:23 GMT

This week's Ed Balls hand gesture analysed...

@ RicHolden :

Bizzare Ed Balls 'digging' gesture at #PMQ's suggests he's preparing the ground for a #Labour leadership challenge to Miliband. #lasagne

29/02/2012 12:21 GMT

The 'curse of Clegg'

Tory MP Stewart Jackson worries that immigration policy will be undone by the "curse of Clegg".

The prime minister says Jackson is "being unfair" and says the government has "a tough migrant cap for migrant workers".

29/02/2012 12:20 GMT

Well Twitter enjoyed "the curse of Clegg" comment from Tory MP

@ Tony_McNulty :

Another Tory attacks Clegg through sheer ignorance of his own Government's policy - hard to figure!

29/02/2012 12:18 GMT

Tweeting a reaction to Unite's strike threat 'not good enough' says Cameron

Cameron is given an opportunity to slam the Unite union for threatening to strike during the Olympics.

"Unite is the biggest single donor to the party opposite," he says. "It is not good enough for them to put out a tweet [condemning Unite]."

29/02/2012 12:17 GMT

Danger of head injuries in the Commons...

@ Lobbydog :

Ed apparently found this so comical that he rocked forward almost head butting the despatch box #PMQs

29/02/2012 12:15 GMT

Nick Clegg shouts that he 'supports' the NHS Bill. Labour MPs having a laugh at that

Nick Clegg usually sits through PMQs trying not to move, smile, frown or even blink.

But having been taunted by Miliband about whether he supports the bill or not the deputy prime minister shouts back that he supports it.

Which drives the Labour benches into fits of laughter.

29/02/2012 12:14 GMT

So who won this week's exchange?

@ JamesMills1984 :

Ed Miliband MP is really finding his feet at #PMQs good performance so far!

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