Tensions were high today in the House of Commons during one of the last cessions of Prime Minister’s Questions before the commencement of the election campaign.
It was essentially reduced to name calling, with Miliband calling prime minister Cameron a bully and a chicken, who in turn referred to the Labour leader as “despicable and weak.”
Miliband’s criticism centres around around his refusing to rule out a coalition with the Scottish National Party. Cameron accused his opponent of attempting to “crawl to power in Alex Salmond’s pocket” in the now likely event that Salmond’s successor Nicola Sturgeon will hold the balance of power come May’s election.
However, at the heart of the issue is David Cameron’s continued reluctance to take part in upcoming televised debates. The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky have three scheduled, including a head-to-head between Cameron and Miliband. However, the prime minister is insisting that he’ll only be present for a single debate between all party leaders.
Cameron has received widespread criticism of his stance, which is in direct opposition to his own position during the previous general election. He has been called a coward and a chicken for being too afraid to defend his record in front of the British people. “Instead of these ridiculous tactics,” Miliband said in the House today. “Why don’t you show a bit more backbone and turn up for the head-to-head debate with me? Any time, anywhere, any place.”
And then came the prime minister’s ironic rebuke: “He wants to talk about the future of a television programme. I want to talk about the future of the country.”
And where might he talk about that future with the voters? On a television programme of course, which-if it’s anything like the 2010 election campaign-will have a viewership of over 20 million.
Only a chicken would pass up that opportunity. Oh, wait…