David Cameron’s mother has reportedly signed a petition rallying against government cuts to children’s services that are due to be enforced by her local Conservative-run county council.
Mary Cameron, a retired magistrate, confirmed to the Daily Mirror that her name appears on the petition condemning a decision by Oxfordshire county council to close 44 children’s centres in the Prime Minister’s own constituency.
Mrs Cameron said: “My name is on the petition but I don’t want to discuss this any further.”
The 81-year-old’s name reportedly appears among the 10,000 people who have signed the petition online and in person, which aims to protect the “lifeline” of children’s centres in Oxfordshire and “maintain universal access to their vital services”.
The petition adds: “Cutting these essential services would leave families vulnerable and isolated, and fail an entire generation of children.
“If current proposals go ahead, most of this support would either disappear entirely or only be available to families who are already in difficulties. An end to universal provision of support for families of under-fives will only increase the stigma associated with seeking out help, and may put people off using these essential services at a time when they feel vulnerable and isolated.”
Jill Huish, who runs the campaign that Mrs Cameron backed, said: “It shows how deep austerity is cutting our most vulnerable when even David Cameron ’s mum has had enough.”
David Cameron's biggest controversies
David Cameron's biggest controversies
A book released by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft alleged that an MP and Oxford contemporary of David Cameron had allegedly seen a photograph of Mr Cameron performing a sex act on a pig while at university. Downing Street did not comment on the allegations and the peer said they could have been a case of mistaken identity
David Hartley/REX Shutterstock
2/8 ‘Swarm’ of migrants
In July 2015 David Cameron referred to refugees coming into Europe from the Middle East and North Africa as a “swarm”. He was criticised for using the language, which critics said was dehumanising
3/8 Child tax credits
In April 2015 David Cameron was asked whether he’d cut child tax credits. “No, I don’t want to do that,” he said, saying that he rejected reports that he would. Shortly after the election the Government unveiled cuts to child tax credits
4/8 Cycling to work
As leader of the opposition David Cameron was regularly photographed cycling to work. In early 2006 he was photographed cycling but with a driver in a car carrying his belongings. It was suggested at the time the cycling was just for show and that having two vehicles on the road instead of one was wasteful
5/8 Andy Coulson
David Cameron employed former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as government communications director from 2010. After stepping down from the post due to coverage of the phone hacking affairs, Mr Coulson was later found guilty of conspiracy to intercept voicemails. He served a short prison sentence
6/8 His personal windmill
Early in his leadership of the Conservative David Cameron made an effort to change the party’s image by making eco-friendly gesures. As one of these gestures, the future PM put a wind turbine on his house. However, the turbine later had to be removed after neighbours condemned it as an eyesore and the council’s planning committee said it had been put in the wrong place
7/8 Funeral selfie
David Cameron was pictured posing for a ‘selfie’ with Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Some in the press criticised the prime minister for showing in an inappropriately low level of respect for the gravity of the occasion
8/8 Eating a hotdog with a knife and fork
The Prime Minister was pictured eating a hotdog with a knife and fork in the run up to the 2015 general election. He was accused of being “posh”. “I had a very privileged upbringing... I've never tried to hide that,” he said
Labour has previously mocked the Prime Minister as the “leader of the anti-austerity movement in Oxfordshire” after leaked documents revealed Mr Cameron wrote to his local council protesting against cuts in his area. The letter, which was sent to the council leader Ian Hudspeth, hit out at the cuts to libraries, early day centres and museums.
In his letter, Mr Cameron wrote: “I was disappointed at the long list of suggestions floated to make significant cuts to frontline services… I would have hoped that Oxfordshire would instead be following the best practice of Conservative councils from across the country in making back-office savings and protecting the frontline.”
But in the exchange, which was obtained by the Oxford Mail, the council leader describes how the council had already cut back-office functions, disposed of property and reduced staff numbers by the thousands – after Oxfordshire County Council’s grant funding was slashed from £122m in 2011 to £62m in 2015.