Cameron slams 'appalling mess left by Labour'

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Prime Minister David Cameron tore into Labour's record in office today, claiming Gordon Brown's administration left the country in an "appalling mess".

Addressing the Commons after this morning's Queen's Speech, Mr Cameron said Labour had left the country with a deficit bigger than that in crisis-hit Greece.

In his first major speech at the Commons despatch box since becoming Prime Minister, Mr Cameron promised to "ratchet up" the pressure on Iran over the regime's nuclear ambitions.

His comments followed acting Labour leader Harriet Harman's response to the Queen's Speech from the Opposition front bench.

Mr Cameron said there was "something missing" from her speech: "Not one word of apology for the appalling mess that has been left in this country.

"Nothing to say about leaving Britain with a deficit that is bigger than Greece's.

"Not a single idea for getting to grips with it.

"Until they learn what they got so badly wrong I'm not sure people are going to listen to them again."

Turning to international affairs, Mr Cameron said "all the evidence" pointed to Tehran's intention to acquire a nuclear bomb.

Mr Cameron said: "All the evidence points in the same direction: that Iran is intent on developing nuclear weapons.

"Even if Iran were to complete the deal, proposed in their recent agreement with Turkey and Brazil, it would still retain around 50% of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

"And it is this stockpile that could be enriched to weapons-grade uranium.

"For the last six years we have pursued a twin-track policy offering engagement but being prepared to apply pressure.

"I believe it is time to ratchet-up that pressure and the timetable is short.

"This Government has a clear objective to ensure stronger UN and EU sanctions against Iran."

He said measures should include restrictions on trade finance, asset freezing and action against banks holding funds for the regime in Tehran.

Mr Cameron said it was a "vital year" for the mission in Afghanistan with a political surge necessary to create an effective government.

He said: "For the first time since the Korean War the government has changed hands while our troops are at war.

"This is a vital year for Afghanistan's future. We have had a troop surge in southern Afghanistan, there are now about 44,000 American forces fighting alongside around 9,000 British soldiers.

"What we need now is a political surge with more effective and accountable government, a reformed Afghan police force and proper reconciliation at the centre.

"This Government will play a leading role in helping to bring that about.

"Already we have appointed this country's first National Security Adviser, we've held meetings of the new National Security Council and we will continue to work with the Afghan government, with our Nato partners - particularly the United States - to bring about success.

Mr Cameron said the Queen's Speech was the first in 65 years from a coalition government.

"It is a Government not driven by party interest but by the national interest, with clear values at its heart," the Prime Minister said.

"The values at its heart are freedom, because over the past decade the state has become over-mighty and civil liberties have been undermined consistently...

"Fairness, because after 13 years of a Labour government inequality is wider, social mobility has stalled, severe poverty is rising and social justice is falling...

"And the third value at the heart of this Queen's Speech is responsibility, because under Labour the age of irresponsibility broke our society and left our economy deep in debt."

Labour former cabinet minister David Blunkett became the first MP to intervene on Mr Cameron as Prime Minister, asking about the removal of child trust funds.

"Is it fair, given that this Cabinet is asset-rich, that they should take away from those who are asset poor," Mr Blunkett asked.

But Mr Cameron said the country had "run out of money", adding: "You broke the nation so badly that it's schemes like these that can't be continued."

The Government's three values would run through every Bill, the Prime Minister said.

"Devolving power not centralising; trusting people not dictating to them; saving money not wasting it.

"It's a radical programme for a radical Government, and that is exactly what our country needs."