PMQs: Cameron claims ally in Socialist Hollande

Ed Miliband has mocked David Cameron for claiming new French president Francois Hollande as an ally in this week's prime minister's questions.

The prime minister quoted Mr Hollande, who was sworn in as France's new head of state yesterday, as having ruled out more public spending to stimulate the French economy.

"There will be common ground between the British view of what needs to happen in Europe and the French view," Mr Cameron declared, claiming that Labour's position is to "borrow more, spend more and add to your debts.

Mr Miliband, whose party would have carried out around four-fifths of the spending cuts currently being implemented by the coalition, replied: "He's now trying to claim the president of France as an ally. What is he on?"

The prime minister also faced criticism from Mr Miliband for having failed to meet Mr Hollande when he visited Britain three months ago.

"It's a shame he didn't see the French president three months ago when he was in the United Kingdom," the leader of the opposition said.

He added, referring to Rebekah Brooks' revelation last week about the prime minister's misapprehension that 'lol' means 'lots of love': "But I'm sure… a text message and 'lol' will go down very well."

Mr Cameron acknowledged he only had a "brief discussion" with France's first Socialist president in 17 years, but said he was looking forward to a bilateral meeting ahead of this weekend's G8 summit.

The prime minister faces accusations of having isolated Britain from the debate in Europe after vetoing moves towards greater fiscal integration last December.

He told MPs that Britain would call, along with other European countries including Italy, for "a whole series of steps that can help the European economy to move". The initiative would include demands for the establishment of single markets in the digital, energy and services sectors.

"These things could seriously add to growth in Europe," Mr Cameron declared. "That is what we should be focused on."