AN ELECTION pledge made in Bolton by Prime Minister David Cameron has sparked his first public scuffle with new Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Miliband was speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament.

He used an answer that Mr Cameron gave to a Cameron Direct audience in Bolton to attack his announcement that child benefits will be removed from families where either parent earns enough to pay 40 per cent income tax, currently around £44,000.

The Labour leader said: “He went before the election to Bolton in an event which I gather is called Cameron Direct and he said this, ‘I’m not going to flannel you, I’m going to give it to you straight. I like the child benefit, I wouldn’t change child benefit, I wouldn’t means test it, I don’t think that is a good idea’.

“I agree with the Prime Minister, why doesn’t he?”

Mr Cameron replied that Mr Miliband had to “face up to the truth” about the deficit.

He said: “We’ve got a big budget deficit.

“You have to ask better off people to make their contribution.”

Mr Miliband’s attack on Mr Cameron came after Bolton North East MP David Crausby tabled a motion expressing concern at the principle of universal child benefits being scrapped.

He said: “I think Ed must have seen the motion for him to put Bolton into his question to the Prime Minister.

“The whole principle of universal benefits is extremely important and I think we have to protect that.

“It is not just child benefits but also pensions, the winter fuel allowance, the free bus pass.

“Even if the richer people in society do not use something like the free bus pass, the very fact they are entitled to it protects it for everyone.”