David Cameron – and his chum Nicholas Clegg – have been corrected about the statements they made justifying the Coalition’s withdrawal of the £80million loan made to Sheffield Forgemasters by Peter Mandelson, the former Business Secretary. The current Business Secretary, Vince Cable, on an official visit to Sheffield earlier this month stated that they did not know what they were talking about. Or as he politely put it, they made statements whilst not knowing the full facts about the loan.
David Cameron has ditched more pre-election policies than it is possible to recount. It is easier to list those promises that he is keeping, but it is a very short list. There are some that stick in the memory because he made a great fuss about them. Labour accused him of planning to axe the universal benefits paid to pensioners. Dave denounced these claims repeatedly; “They are already telling the most appalling lies about Conservative policy towards the elderly.” “You know you are getting letters from the Labour Party that say the Conservatives would cut the winter fuel allowance, would cut free bus travel, would cut the free TV licence. These statements by Labour are quite simply lies.” “You will keep the benefits you depend on. Don’t believe Labour’s lies that we will cut them or get rid of them. The winter fuel allowance, pension credit, free bus travel and TV licence for over-75s will all stay.” During the televised leader’s debates Dave angrily demanded that Gordon Brown apologise for these lies and withdraw the letters. No room for any doubt then. However, Dave has been very quiet following the leaks last month that £13billion cuts to the Welfare budget would include benefits for the elderly, even though this might be achieved by deferring the age at which they can be claimed. Similar reporting of leaks have been flatly denied by No. 10, but not this time.