UK & World News
Beetroot-Faced Cameron Boils Over In Hunt Row
When David Cameron gets cross, he goes rather red in the face. Summoned before MPs to defend Jeremy Hunt yet again, his face was at times almost beetroot.
In some of the most bad-tempered and noisy exchanges in the Commons for many months, the Prime Minister's anger boiled over several times.
He accused Ed Miliband of "double standards", told Chris Bryant he should apologise for leaking inaccurate Leveson Inquiry material and advised 80-year-old Dennis Skinner to take his pension.
Towards most Opposition MPs, Mr Cameron was graceless and at times bullying.
He frequently shouted across the chamber and was even more "Flashman" in tone than he sometimes is at Prime Minister's Questions.
To say the PM was irked at having to come to the Commons would be an understatement.
He had been due to go out campaigning ahead of Thursday's local elections.
But the Labour leader tabled an Urgent Question on why the Prime Minister was refusing to hold an inquiry into allegations that Mr Hunt broke the ministerial code in his dealings with News Corp in the BSkyB takeover bid.
The Prime Minister was no doubt just as furious with Speaker John Bercow for allowing the Urgent Question as he was with Mr Miliband for tabling it.
He had answered questions from the Labour leader at PMQs last Wednesday and again in a TV interview at the weekend.
Here, he again insisted he would not order another inquiry while Leveson was in the middle of hearing evidence.
He did, however, say that if Mr Hunt's evidence at Leveson in mid-May revealed he did break the ministerial code he would either call in code adviser Sir Alex Allen or take action himself. In other words, sack Mr Hunt.
Mr Cameron was clearly in no mood to be conciliatory on any point, snapping at Labour's Margaret Hodge when he raised the evidence to her Public Accounts Committee given by the DCMS permanent secretary, Jonathan Stephens, last week.
At times he waved his hand in a circular motion to gesture to some MPs asking a question to come to an end.
But he was most savage in his attacks on Mr Miliband, leaning forwards towards him over the dispatch box and branding him "weak and wrong".
He concluded his first answer to the Labour leader: "Endlessly questioning the integrity of someone when you don't have the evidence is bad judgment, rotten politics and plain wrong.
"We have learned something about the Labour leader today - and I think it's something you will regret."
While his tone was belligerent, Tory MPs loved the aggression.
They cheered the Prime Minister when he scorned Labour over the behaviour of Gordon Brown's former spin doctors Charlie Whelan and Damian McBride.
Tory grandees including Peter Lilley and Nicholas Soames loyally backed him.
And when he left the chamber after answering 42 questions in 50 minutes, Conservative backbenchers cheered themselves hoarse and waved their order papers.
Labour sources later claimed Mr Cameron was "dodging and weaving" to avoid giving clear answers and was still covering up the truth.
But now, within hours, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee will publish its report after its long inquiry into phone hacking.
There are reports that the MPs will accuse former News Of The World executives Colin Myler, Tom Crone and Les Hinton of misleading Parliament in their evidence, though chairman John Whittingdale says he is saying nothing until the launch in the morning.
In the Commons, Mr Cameron angrily declared that while he did not want to belittle the row over the Murdochs there were more important issues "like jobs and living standards and dealing with the debt" that the Government should be getting on with.
But the potentially devastating select committee report and the continuing row over Mr Hunt's role means Mr Cameron is likely to be angry for some time.