David Cameron rounds on ‘humourless Left’
Published 29/04/2011 | 05:06
Prime Minister David Cameron made light of the “calm down, dear” row yesterday and accused the Labour Party of having no sense of humour.
Mr Cameron told an audience of Conservative activists in north Wales: “Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you to calm down.”
To laughter and applause, he continued: “I don't know what it is about some people on the Left. It seems that when they put the socialism in, they take the sense of humour out.
“I got home and my wife said to me ‘what sort of day did you have, dear?'
“And I told her I was attacked by Harriet Harman and defended by Michael Winner and she said ‘what on Earth were you up to?’”
The row erupted after Mr Cameron aimed the remark at shadow Treasury chief secretary Angela Eagle during rowdy exchanges at Prime Minister's Question Time on Wednesday.
The Labour benches erupted in outrage, with shadow chancellor Ed Balls angrily gesticulating and party leader Ed Miliband appearing to demand an apology.
But the Prime Minister pressed on, telling them: “I said calm down, calm down, dear.
“I'll say it to you, if you like... I'm not going to apologise. You do need to calm down.”
Labour officials later branded the remark “patronising, sexist, insulting and un-Prime Ministerial” and said that Mr Cameron should apologise.
On ITV1's Daybreak, Ms Eagle said: “He just lost his rag, I think, and revealed himself in a way that perhaps his minders wouldn't have wanted him to.
“It was patronising, but it wasn't something that surprises me about him.
“He's done it before in the House of Commons, especially when he's been on the back foot.”
It later emerged that Mr Cameron previously used the “calm down, dear” line in the Commons to a male MP.
Mr Winner, meanwhile, said the uproar caused by Mr Cameron's use of his catchphrase was “ridiculous”.
“It's used by everybody,” he said.
“People come up to me in the street and in restaurants saying it. It's a totally harmless bit of fun.”
The Prime Minister was speaking to the Tory faithful in advance of next week's Welsh Assembly elections.
He rallied his troops during a 20-minute speech at Technium OPTIC, a research centre in St Asaph which is involved in building the world's largest telescope.
He told the 100-strong audience that the coalition Government was working for the long-term good of the country.
“We said we wanted to be a different sort of Government, to do things in a different way, to be guided by different values, and I believe that is what we are doing,” he said.
“We now have a Government that doesn't do what is good for tomorrow's newspaper headlines, or even what is good for one party — we try to do what is right for the good of our country.”
The Prime Minister also spoke about the referendum to decide on the future of the voting system.
“There's just one week left to compare, calmly and rationally, the two systems on offer,” Mr Cameron, who supports the No campaign, said.