Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Challenging Nick Clegg at DPMQs - 22/05/12

Today at Deputy Prime Minister's Questions I challenged Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg over the Government’s failures on the economy and saying one thing on social mobility but doing another.

Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham) (Lab): It has been a bad week for the Germans. First they are beaten by Chelsea, and then they get an economics lecture from the Deputy Prime Minister. Can he tell us why he is qualified to lecture anyone about economic policy when his Government have left us with a double-dip recession and 1 million young people looking for work?

The Deputy Prime Minister: The right hon. and learned Lady must be suffering from amnesia. Does she not remember how her Government sucked up to the City of London, went on a prawn cocktail offensive which let the banks off the hook and presided over increases in youth unemployment year after year after 2004, the biggest peacetime deficit ever seen in this country, and the largest decline in manufacturing—even larger than the decline in the 1980s? That is Labour’s record, and I am proud of the fact that we are trying to fix the mess that she left behind.

Ms Harman: When we left office, the economy was growing and unemployment was falling. Today the Deputy Prime Minister has been prancing around preaching about social mobility, which is frankly ludicrous when he is cutting tax credits for low-income families, providing a tax cut for millionaires, and scrapping an important measure designed to narrow the gap between rich and poor, namely clause 1 of the Equality Act 2010. It is always the same with this Deputy Prime Minister; he says one thing and does another. For all the difference that he makes in Government, he might as well be chillaxing or beating his own record at Fruit Ninja.


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