Gordon Brown and David Cameron in pre-Budget clash

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Tory leader David Cameron accused Gordon Brown today of treating the nation like "fools" as he urged the Prime Minister to get on and call the general election.

In what's almost certain to be their penultimate Commons question time clash before a likely May 6 poll, Mr Cameron called for the country to "get rid of this useless bunch of ministers".



But Mr Brown hit back, saying Mr Cameron had been wrong on every economic issue since he became Conservative leader.







Mr Cameron said that in what was likely to be the second last question time before the election, he wanted to clear up a few issues.

"One of the things the Treasury are working on concerns your disastrous decision to sell gold at rock bottom prices," he told the Prime Minister.



"This lost the country £6 billion. The Treasury has now lost its four-year battle against the Information Commissioner to keep the information about this decision secret.



"So will you now confirm that these documents will be published in full, with no redactions, before the general election?"



Mr Brown said: "I'm very happy for any document to be published on that matter.



"But you've got to do a bit better than that. We have taken people out of unemployment and into work. We've helped thousands of small businesses. We've been helping people against the loss of their homes.



"The Conservatives have got nothing to say about the present and the future. It's about time you started to think about the policies that work for the future."



Mr Cameron said: "If you are so relaxed about this information being published, why did you spend four years fighting it?"



Mr Brown, to Tory jeers, said: "It is a matter for the Information Commissioner and the Treasury. I'm happy if the Information Commissioner wishes to publish documents.



"But are you going to come forward with any serious policy about the future of this country. Have you got anything serious to offer this country for the future? Have you got anything to say to the unemployed, or mortgage holders or to businesses?"



Mr Cameron quipped: "So the Treasury always wanted this information published and it was only the Information Commissioner stopping them!



"Once again you take the whole country for fools."







Mr Cameron said the Information Commissioner had also ordered the Department for Work and Pensions to release information on the Prime Minister's "disastrous raid on every pension fund" in the country.

"He's ruled this should be published. The Department has appealed against it. Now we hear you're not interested in these appeals, will you withdraw it and make sure the information is published?"



Mr Brown said that in parliamentary debate the shadow chancellor George Osborne could not "sustain his case" about the withdrawal of dividend tax credits.



"We made the right decision for British industry. We made the right decision to protect British pensioners. It is the Conservative party that has let pensioners down and would do so again in the future.



"I'm happy for everything in my record to be judged. Now... will you tell us what happened over Lord Ashcroft?"



Mr Cameron ignored the challenge and demanded: "If you're happy for this to be published, will you withdraw the appeal and have it published - yes or no?"



Mr Brown said: "We had this debate on pensions and the shadow chancellor tried to pursue the case against our policy to withdraw dividend tax credits.



"He couldn't even make a sensible argument on that at the time. We won the debate on dividend tax credits because our policy was the right policy and continues to be so."



Mr Cameron said: "On the second last questions, we've just had what we've had all along from you - no answers, endless cover-ups, not giving the information, not answering the question, dithering on all the important decisions.



"How much longer are we going to have to wait until we get rid of this useless bunch of ministers. The cab meter's ticking - come on, tell us when the election is then?"



Mr Brown retorted: "You've been wrong on every single issue about the economy. When people look at what the Conservative party propose they'll see they were wrong on Northern Rock, wrong on the restructuring of the banks, wrong on help for the unemployed, wrong on help for small businesses.



"When it comes to right or wrong, they were wrong on Lord Ashcroft - wrong, wrong, wrong, that's the Conservative party."

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