'Shadow of sleaze': Miliband savages Cameron at PMQs

David Cameron has endured one of his worst PMQs since becoming prime minister, when a return to recession and allegations from the Leveson inquiry proved disastrous for the government.

The double whammy gave opposition leader Ed Miliband plenty too work with as he attacked the Mr Cameron for allowing a "shadow of sleaze" to hang over

Westminster

The prime minister put the interests of "his cronies above the interests of the country" Mr Miliband added.

It "beggars belief" that Mr Cameron continued to defend his culture secretary, Mr Miliband argued.

"Having seen the 163 pages [of emails between his office and that of James Murdoch] published yesterday, is the prime minister seriously trying to tell us that the secretary of state was acting as he should have done in a transparent, impartial and fair manner?" the Labour leader asked.

Mr Cameron insisted that to take action would "pre-judge" the Leveson inquiry.

"It is very important to hear every side of the story before drawing conclusions," he added.

Mr Hunt was given the full support of the prime minster, a response which saw Labour MPs laugh and gesture waves goodbye.

On the subject of the economy, which officially entered a double-dip recession when official figures showed it shrank by 0.2% in the first quarter of the year, Mr Miliband demanded the prime minister not offer another "excuse".

"This is a recession made by him and the chancellor in Downing Street," the Labour leader added.

Mr Cameron replied: "We have got to rebalance our economy, we need a bigger private sector... this is painstaking difficult work but we will stick with our plan.

"This is a tough and difficult situation that the economy is in, but the one thing we mustn't do is abandon public spending and deficit reduction plans because the solution to a debt crisis cannot be more debt," he added.

The government has endured a barrage of negative headlines since the Budget last month, which was badly received by the press.