PMQS: Cameron Blasts Miliband's 'Unpatriotic' Candidate, Labour Mocks 'Sarah Palin' Tory

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Sarah Palin is not a candidate in Eastleigh
Sarah Palin is not a candidate in Eastleigh

One day ahead of the fiercely fought Eastleigh by-election, David Cameron ambushed Ed Miliband over past comments made the Labour candidate, comedian John O'Farrell, as opposition MPs mocked the Tory candidate's right-wing views.

Taking advantage of a planted question at the start of prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Cameron called on Miliband to condemn O'Farrell.

The prime minister said: "It is staggering that there is someone standing for public office who has said this: 'In October 1984, when the Brighton bomb went off, I felt a surge of excitement at the nearness of her demise and yet disappointment that such a chance had been missed.'

"Those are the words of the Labour candidate in the Eastleigh by-election. They are a complete disgrace I hope the leader of the Labour Party will get up and condemn them right now."

After Miliband refused to take the bait, he added: "Isn't it amazing the Leader of the opposition won't condemn someone who speaks up for terrorists."

Returning to the theme later on, Cameron also quoted O'Farrell saying he had hoped Britain would lose the Falklands War. Cameron said: "This candidate, endorsed by the leader of the Labour Party, has a shocking lack of patriotism."

Following PMQs, O'Farrell, who polls show is a distant fourth in the by-election, used Twitter to defend his past comments, made in a book published in 1998.


John O'Farrell
Re. BrightonBomb: I wrote an honest memoir and volunteered this fleeting bad thought from 1984 to illustrate how hatred can poison politics

With the polls tight and victory seen as crucial for both Cameron and Nick Clegg, the prime minister urged his MPs to "make their way to Eastleigh to support Maria Hutchings in the by-election campaign".

His call to arms was mocked loudly and gleefully by Lib Dem Bob Russell who shouted "she doesn't support you" at Cameron. Hutchings is opposed to several positions held by Cameron, including being against gay marriage and wanting to withdraw from the EU.

Former Tory leadership contender David Davis warned Cameron today that a third place finish behind the Lib Dems and Ukip would "be a crisis" for his leadership.

Cameron's support for Hutchings, who is seen as something of a loose-cannon, was also mocked by Labour MP Chris Bryant who was told off by the speaker for shouting "Sarah Palin" across the chamber.

John Bercow told Bryant: "The honourable member shouldn't keep yelling 'Sarah Palin', she, at least, is not a candidate in the Eastleigh by election."

SEE ALSO: Maria Hutchings Blogs Ahead Of Thursday's By-Election

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