PMQs: Miliband Says Cameron Has Gone 'From Hug A Husky To Gas A Badger'

Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron with Husky dog Troika on the Scott-Turner glacier on the island of Svalbard, Norway.
Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron with Husky dog Troika on the Scott-Turner glacier on the island of Svalbard, Norway.

Ed Miliband attacked David Cameron for abandoning his pre-election environmental credentials on Wednesday, mocking him from switching positions from "hug a husky to gas a badger".

Speaking during prime minister's questions today, the Labour leader said Cameron had presided over a "cost of living crisis" partially due to the high cost of energy bills. Miliband has made freezing energy prices a key plank of his offer to the country for the 2015 general election.

"The one thing the prime minister doesn't want to talk about is energy prices, he can't talk about it because he has no answer," he said.

"There are almost a million young people still out of work and record numbers of people working part time who can't find full time work. That is no cause for complacency from this government. The British people would be very surprised to hear the prime minister tell them their living standards are rising."

Labour are keen to pivot the economic debate away from the unemployment figures to the cost of living given the recent falls in joblessness.

Figures released this morning showed the number of people in work has reached a record high of almost 30 million after a new fall in unemployment. Just under 2.5 million people were out of work in the three months to August, down by 18,000 on the previous three months, while figures showed the biggest monthly fall in jobseeker's allowance claimants for 16 years.

Hailing today's fail in unemployment, Cameron said the way to deliver on living standards was "to grow the economy, keep producing the jobs and cut people's taxes". And he said Miliband's plan to freeze energy bills was a "con" as the government could not control global petrol prices.

Cameron added: "If an energy price freeze is such a good idea why didn't he introduce it when he stood at this Despatch Box as energy secretary?"

But Miliband was quick to defend his record in cabinet under Gordon Brown. "Who was it who said vote blue go green? I think it was this prime minister. Who said it as leader of Opposition 'I think green taxes are a whole need to go up?' it was him as leader of the Opposition."

He added: "Let me ask him, doesn't he feel faintly embarrassed that in five short years he has gone from hug a husky to gas a badger?".

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said the Coalition Government was on course to be the least green government ever.

But she added: "Raising the matter during the pantomime game of PMQs may score political points but it doesn't address the real underlying issues and the inept way in which Miliband asked the question enabled Cameron to easily evade answering it.

"There is a real need for serious questions to be asked about the Coalition's short-sighted and environmentally damaging energy policy."