UK's Cameron uses Obama compliment on economy to boost re-election bid

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 21, 2015 12:16 PM

By Andrew Osborn

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday used praise from U.S. President Barack Obama to rebuff criticism by his main political rival.

Cameron's bid for re-election in Britain's May 7 election is premised on Britain having one of the world's fastest-growing advanced economies.

But Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, says Cameron's Conservatives are poised to leave power with living standards lower than they were at the start of their term, the first party in that position since the 1920s.

"The reality is that people are worse off on wages and they're worse off on taxes," Miliband said in parliament on Wednesday. "Under him, we're a country of food banks and bank bonuses, a country of tax cuts for millionaires while millions are paying more."

Cameron twice fell back on Obama's comments to rebuff him.

"They (Labour) can't talk about the economy because the IMF, the president of the United States all say the British economy is performing well," said Cameron. "It was very kind of the president of the United States to make that point about doing something right," he added, smiling.

Cameron and his aides were visibly delighted when Obama, speaking in the White House on Jan. 16, said Britain and the United States were two economies "that are standing out at a time when a lot of other countries are having problems, so we must be doing something right."

Labour now questions Obama's knowledge base.

"Most people will feel that Obama does not really know what is going on in this country," Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, told LBC radio station earlier this week.

(Editing by Larry King)