Adrian Beecroft has made it clear today that his fire at will proposals are supported at the highest levels of Government, including by the Prime Minister himself. It shows just how out of touch David Cameron and the Tory-led Government are that at a time when employees are already facing massive uncertainty, they want to make it easier for their employers to fire them at will. As Beecroft himself said, his proposals would mean that bosses could sack employees simply because they didn't like them.
– Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary
Clearly, David Cameron shares Mr Beecrofts view that this is a price worth paying. The rights which employees have at work are not the reason why we are in a double-dip recession; it is as a result of this Governments policies. To end the recession made in Downing Street what we need is a proper plan for jobs and growth, not Beecrofts fire at will manifesto.
A senior Labour source has said the Prime Minister's flashes of anger have become more frequent as he has found himself on the wrong side of the economic debate.
The source said:
"The Prime Minister is increasingly losing his temper and increasingly losing the House of Commons because he is increasingly losing the economic argument," said the source.
"It is deeply un-prime ministerial."
As David Cameron spoke about the economy during Prime Minister's Questions, there was uproar in the Commons when he said people should not listen to the "muttering idiot" sitting opposite him.
The jibe was aimed at shadow chancellor Ed Balls.
The Speaker John Bercow interjected and called for order. He then asked Mr Cameron to withdraw the word "idiot" which he said was "unparliamentary".
Later, Mr Balls tweeted: "For the record, I was simply asking the Prime Minister, as he boasted the economy was on track: "Tell us about the recession".
During Prime Minister's Questions, the Labour leader Ed Miliband asked David Cameron if he agreed with the Beecroft report's proposal that the law should be changed to make it easier for employers to fire under-performing employees.
David Cameron said "we need to make it easier for businesses to grow" adding that the report had "a number of excellent ideas".
Ed Miliband replied that the Mr Cameron had not answered the question, saying: "The people behind him (the Tories) think the proposal is a great report and the bee knees, the people over there (the Lib Dems) think it's a bonkers proposal."
Cameron retorted that Mr Miliband did not listen to his answer and said "I'm not surprised he worries about being fired at will for being incompetence."
Ed Miliband is going at Beecroft's "fire at will" suggestion at PMQs. Cameron says he is consulting on No Fault Dismissal but only for micro businesses.
David Cameron said "we need to make it easier for businesses to grow" adding that the Beecroft report had "a number of excellent ideas", during Prime Minister's Questions.
The Prime Minister did not respond about whether he agreed with Vince Cable or Adrian Beecroft on whether employers should be able to fire any employees they want.
The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshot, a former party Treasury spokesman and close ally of Business Secretary Vince Cable, has given his verdict on Adrian Beecroft's report.
Beecroft Report: a mixture of sound and original ideas.Shame none of the sound ideas are original and none of the original ideas are sound.From @oakeshottm on Twitter:
Downing Street has made clear that David Cameron has not dismissed the Beecroft proposals out of hand.
A spokeswoman said the Prime Minister was weighing up options for making it easier for businesses to employ people and achieve growth, but was not "wedded" to any particular solution.
The report by Adrian Beecroft was commissioned by the Business Department and submitted in October, but it has been kept under wraps amid reports of friction between Tory and Lib Dem ministers.
On Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg publicly condemned the Beecroft employment law proposals.
Speaking to the Sutton Trust conference on social mobility, he said:
– Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
"I don't support them and I never have. I've not seen any evidence that creating industrial-scale insecurity amongst millions of workers is a way of securing new jobs.
"So far, there's just no evidence that in the highly flexible labour market that we have, comparatively speaking, for instilling greater insecurity and let's be blunt, fear, amongst workers, at a time of great economic anxiety as a way of fostering new employment."
Adrian Beecroft's report for Downing Street on employment laws - which was published on Monday - has exposed deep tensions in the Coalition.
The "compensated no-fault dismissal" scheme is the most divisive proposal in a report, which was published ahead of schedule after being leaked.
Mr Cable dismissed the idea as "complete nonsense" but many Conservatives backed the plans.
Mr Beecroft said the Conservatives are being "hugely held back by the Lib Dems".
– Adrian Beecroft
"I think you could put together a bunch of suggestions out of the report, as a coherent programme, that would say, you know, we are tackling the issues that business has with employment law but the Lib Dems will have none of it."