PM rejects Archbishop's criticism
David Cameron has passionately rejected criticism from the Archbishop of Canterbury that the coalition Government was pushing through radical policies "for which no one voted".
The Prime Minister said Dr Rowan Williams was free to express his concerns, but he "profoundly disagreed" with many of the comments.
Speaking at a press conference on a visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Cameron said: "I think the Archbishop of Canterbury is entirely free to express political views. I have never been one to say that the Church should fight shy of making political interventions.
"But what I would say is that I profoundly disagree with many of the views that he has expressed, particularly on issues like debt and welfare and education."
In an overtly political attack, Dr Williams claimed the Government's changes in health and education had been met with a mixture of "bafflement and indignation" by the public.
"With remarkable speed, we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted," he wrote in an article for the New Statesman. "At the very least, there is an understandable anxiety about what democracy means in such a context.
"The anxiety and anger have to do with the feeling that not enough has been exposed to proper public argument."
The archbishop was brutally dismissive of Mr Cameron's "Big Society", writing: "The widespread suspicion that this has has been done for opportunistic or money-saving reasons allows many to dismiss what there is of a programme for 'big society' initiatives; even the term has fast become painfully stale."
He added: "Government badly needs to hear just how much plain fear there is around questions such as these at present.
Mr Cameron hit back by insisting the Government was acting in a "good and moral" fashion: "I don't think it is good or right for people and our country if we just give up on paying down our debt and just pass that down to our children. I don't see anything good or even moral in that approach."