He'll never say `sorry'

OPPOSITION leader David Cameron once again banged his head against the Prime Minister's intransigence this afternoon when Gordon Brown refused to apologise for his role in the financial meltdown.

Graham Dines

OPPOSITION leader David Cameron once again banged his head against the Prime Minister's intransigence this afternoon when Gordon Brown refused to apologise for his role in the financial meltdown.

At Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Mr Cameron said Mr Brown's refusal to apologise was part of a wider pattern of seeking to avoid blame for Britain's economic problems.

“Why can't the Prime Minister admit he has made an error of judgment?” asked the Tory leader. “Isn't this a part of the Prime Minister's problem?”

Mr Cameron must realise that what he's asking for is impossible for Gordon Brown to deliver. Grovelling like the bankers did yesterday would destroy his remaining credibility and totally destabilise his administration.

Instead, Mr Brown seemed almost joyous at the number of job vacancies in Britain, as if these somehow masked the rising number of unemployed.

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“Our determination is to give people help - help to stay in jobs wherever possible, help to get new jobs and help for existing unemployed people to get work as quickly as possible.

“I met the National Employment Panel this morning to talk exactly about these issues and many employers said as a result of there being 500,000 vacancies in the economy they were going to be able to help people get back into work.”

But to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, today's young people will become the jobless generation as a result of the Prime Minister's failure to deal adequately with the economic crisis. “Since the Queen's Speech a few months ago, the Government has been churning out, on average, three new announcements every day. Can you tell me how many of these new initiatives are actually being put into practice?

“You said you would get the banks lending again - they aren't. You said you would get tough on bankers' bonuses, yet you are letting them keep millions in bonuses in return for a cynical apology.

“You said you would create 100,000 new jobs yet with unemployment today standing at almost two million and rising, our young people of today are going to be tomorrow's jobless generation.”

As Mr Clegg gets more confident in his Commons performance, he flashed his ill humour at the Tories - “it's bad enough being a do nothing party” - before rounding on Mr Brown: “Isn't it even worse being a say nothing, do nothing Prime Minister?”

To which Mr Brown snapped: “If I had taken your advice, we would have made the wrong decisions.”