'A gimmick': David Cameron hits out at Ed Miliband in PMQs clash over Labour energy price freeze vow

Labour leader says PM has 'no answer' to pledge introduced last month

Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices is nothing more than a gimmick, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.

Mr Cameron attacked Ed Miliband's promise to freeze prices for 20 months after the next general election, telling MPs that even the Labour leader admitted he may not be able to keep to his commitment because no Government could control the wholesale energy markets.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said if Mr Miliband did introduce the price freeze, it would only lead to higher energy costs for households and businesses in the long-term.

Turning to the Labour leader, Mr Cameron said: "This isn't a policy, it's a gimmick and the reason it's a gimmick is that you are in favour of a decarbonisation target that would add £125 to everybody's bill.

"Now it is obvious why you want to talk about the cost of living, because you do not have an economic policy any more."

Mr Cameron added: "Isn't it the case that what you are promising is a price increase before a promise, a broken promise, and then a price increase after a promise? One price increase, one broken promise, another price increase.

"That sounds like every Labour government since the war."

But Mr Miliband hit back, telling the Prime Minister he had no answer to Labour's new policy to freeze energy prices, which was introduced last month at the party's conference in Brighton.

The Labour leader said the Government's policy to help consumers switch to the lowest energy tariff would not help 90% of the population, whereas his policy would benefit 27 million households and 2.4 million businesses across the country.

Mr Miliband said: "What is clear is that you are floundering around and you have no answer to Labour's energy price freeze.

"You didn't even defend your own policy, which won't benefit 90% of the country. You have no idea. You say you want to bring energy prices down but can you confirm that energy prices have gone up by £300 since you became Prime Minister?"

Mr Cameron replied: "I can tell you, first of all, that energy prices doubled under Labour, electricity prices went up by 50%. And let me say this to you - there is one thing governments can't control and that is the international wholesale price of gas.

"I know you would like to live in some sort of Marxist universe where you can control all of these things but you need a basic lesson in economics."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cabinet Maker / Joiner

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

Recruitment Genius: Media Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones