Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

European Council statement: Leaders seize opportunity for economic ding dong

Why did the Prime Minister give a statement in the Commons on the outcome of last week’s European Council summit? Though he is expected to report back to MPs each time one of these jamborees takes place, David Cameron didn’t really have a great deal to tell them other than the tantalising suggestion that the leaders had made progress on cutting red tape and the declaration that ‘the EU is changing’. It was hardly one of those statements where Cameron can wave a budget cut or some other great policy victory at MPs.

But there was still sport to be had in the Chamber: it's just that it was only loosely associated with the topic of the statement. Responding to Ed Miliband, the PM said:

'He made a number of other economic predictions which rather reminds me of the predictions he's made over the years. Of course, he told us in 2010 that our policies would lead to a loss of a million jobs. Completely wrong: we've added 1.4 million private sector jobs. In 2012, amazingly, he was still saying the loss of public sector jobs would not be made up for by the growth of private sector jobs. Again, wrong: we've got a million more people in work.

'And the Shadow Chancellor- not in his place, presumably sorting out their HS2 policy - as late as June this year the Shadow Chancellor said that we were going to choke off growth, and yet the truth is this year we're forecast to grow more than twice as fast as Germany. Those are the results that we're getting both here and in Europe.'

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