Cameron brushes off clash with backbencher Jesse Norman


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David Cameron today brushed aside reports that he was involved in an angry confrontation with the ringleader of Tory rebels on House of Lords reform as “tittle tattle and rumour”.

The Prime Minister was said to have approached Conservative backbencher Jesse Norman outside the House of Commons division lobbies following last night's revolt by 91 Tory MPs.

Labour MP Karl Turner wrote on Twitter that he saw a "very angry" Mr Cameron make a beeline for Mr Norman and then start "pointing his finger in his face".

Challenged by Labour leader Ed Miliband about the incident at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron dismissed the claims as a "bunch of tittle tattle and rumour" and "half-baked gossip".

Mr Miliband said: "Last night he lost control of his party and, not for the first time, he lost his temper as well."

Mr Cameron retorted: "If we want to see House of Lords reform, all of those who support House of Lords need to not only vote for House of Lords reform but support the means to bring that reform about."

A source close to Mr Cameron said the PM was "rightly annoyed" with the Hereford MP because Mr Norman had been sending texts and emails misrepresenting his position by suggesting that rebels would be indulged by Downing Street.

Their conversation was not "some huge argument" but was "fairly good-natured", said the source, who said Mr Norman later sent out a clarification of his earlier messages, adding: "I think he got the point."

Mr Cameron was not behind a separate incident, when Tory whips ordered Mr Norman off the parliamentary estate, the source insisted.

"That was not an order from on high. It was a question of high emotions in the Commons after a long day."