David Cameron under fire over photographer appointment

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Indy Politics

David Cameron came under fire today after it emerged his personal photographer was on the civil service payroll.

Labour leader Ed Miliband questioned the Prime Minister's judgment over the appointment at a time when he was "telling everybody to tighten their belts".

Mr Cameron said the government communications budget had been cut by two-thirds since the coalition came into office.

Photographer Andrew Parsons, a former Conservative Party employee, was today reported to have landed a civil service post.

At Prime Minister's questions Mr Miliband mocked Mr Cameron's claim to be making "hard choices" as a result of tight public finances.

He said: "I can't believe he is talking about hard choices this week because who has he chosen to put on the civil service payroll this week? His own personal photographer.

"There's good news for the Prime Minister - apparently he does a nice line in airbrushing."

In a jibe aimed at Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg he said: "You can picture the scene, can't you, you can picture the Cabinet photo: 'We're all in this together - just a little bit more to the right, Nick'."

Mr Miliband asked the Prime Minister: "Is it really a wise judgment, when he is telling everybody to tighten their belts, to put his own personal photographer on the civil service payroll?"

Commons Speaker John Bercow was forced to appeal for order as the session became increasingly raucous.

Mr Cameron said: "The last government last year spent half a billion pounds on communications.

"We are cutting that by two-thirds, that's what's actually happening."

In a reference to former prime minister Gordon Brown's reputation for having a bad temper, he joked: "We'll be spending a bit less on replacing mobile phones as well in No 10 Downing Street."

Mr Parsons is a former photographer with the Press Association news agency.