When David Cameron was photographed scoffing Pringles on an Easy Jet flight over the summer, he became the subject of much mockery online. However, there was one woman who fiercely leapt to his defence, arguing that he deserved better than a budget snack on a budget airline. 'David Cameron deserves official jet,' Fiona Phillips declared in the Mirror. 'He's our Prime Minister for goodness sake.'
Alas, Phillips may soon be rethinking her approach when it comes to the Prime Minister. It appears that any fondness the former GMTV presenter holds towards Cameron -- who she has met a number of times -- is not reciprocated.
During a Media Focus talk, Damian McBride recalls a conversation Cameron once had about Phillips behind the scenes of a GMTV election feature. McBride -- who was working as Gordon Brown's spinner at the time -- says that both Brown and Cameron agreed to meet with a 'swing-voter' family for a GMTV segment:
'There was this great thing the old GMTV did in the run-up to the 2010 election. They introduced what they described as the 'swing voter' family, a couple with two young kids who I think were from Middlesborough.'
Brown invited the family to No.10 where he introduced his children to the young couple's own kids after the filming had finished. However, Cameron then attempted to do one better by visiting them in their own home. McBride says that while the couple were at first charmed by Cameron, things soon turned sour.
Cameron spoke to Fiona Phillips who was in the London studio, during which she asked him questions about his visit. While the conversation appeared friendly, once he went off air he complained to the couple that he could not stand 'that woman':
'They were very charmed by him, but he did this thing when they did a break in the interview so Fiona Phillips did a thing in the studio and said they would be back with them after the news. So they went off air in Middlesborough and apparently David Cameron reclined in his seat and said 'can't stand that woman' about Fiona Phillips.'
Alas the comments fell flat with the couple who valued sincerity:
'What they really took umbrage to was that he was being perfectly nice down the line on this interview and they just thought "that's a bit two-faced".'
While No.10 have so far refrained from commenting on McBride's claims, Cameron need not fret too much about any backlash. After all Phillips is a Labour darling with Brown once telling her he wanted her to be a junior health minister.