Cameron slams 'appalling mess left by Labour'

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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas