Charity volunteer from Godmanchester says PM David Cameron was ‘ducking and diving’

Mike Grice makes a point at the Age UK rally.

Mike Grice makes a point at the Age UK rally. - Credit: Archant

A volunteer from Age UK Cambridgeshire has described how David Cameron “ducked and dived” at a political rally as he attempted to defend his party’s record on health and social care.

The PM was met with a barrage of criticism from angry pensioners at the Age UK Pre-election Rally at the Queen Elizabeth 2 Centre in London last Tuesday (March 24).

Mr Cameron, who was joined by speakers from the Lib Dems, Labour, the Green Party and UKIP, received a warm reception as he took to the stage, but soon found himself struggling to be heard when he tried to answer questions about nurses’ pay and prescription charges.

Age UK volunteer Mike Grice, 67, from West Street, Godmanchester, travelled to London with six Age UK Cambridgeshire representatives to table a question about the affordability of care for older people who want to stay in their own homes.

He said: “It was a bit of a surprise as we had been told the names of the other party speakers, but it was only when David Cameron came on stage that we realised who the Conservative speaker was going to be.

“At first, he came across as professional and he handled himself well, but then he starting ducking and diving and he did what all politicians do and avoided answering questions.

“People were asking him to give assurances about the future of social care and talk about policies and he just wouldn’t give any straight answers.”

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At one stage the PM was forced to plead with the audience to allow him to answer questions from national newspaper reporters who wanted to quiz him on remarks he made last week regarding his decision not to stand for a third term as party leader.

“It felt like he was using the rally as a party political broadcast rather than addressing the real issues, and when he started answering questions about his leadership people became frustrated and started shouting and interrupting,” added Mr Grice.

“It was a bit uncomfortable at times and I’m not sure it is a good thing for people to behave in that way, but I believe the rally has raised the profile of Age UK and all the good work it does.”

Other speakers were Paul Burstow (Lib Dems) Liz Kendall (Labour) Natalie Bennett (Green Party) and Mark Reckless from UKIP.