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    Osborne under fire over 'pantomime dame' jibe


    by ODN


    Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of homophobia after describing an openly gay Labour MP as a "pantomime dame".

    In the last Treasury questions before Christmas on Tuesday, former minister Chris Bryant accused the Chancellor of taking delight in playing the role of Baron Hardup - and asked him to be more like Prince Charming.

    Mr Osborne replied: "At least I'm not the pantomime dame."

    Labour MPs called on Mr Osborne to withdraw the comment and Mr Bryant shouted that the remark was "homophobic".

    After the Commons exchanges Mr Bryant, the MP for Rhondda, told the Press Association: "I don't think he would have said that phrase if I was not gay.

    "I think when he gets back to the office he will probably think to himself 'I should send a little note saying sorry, I didn't mean to offend'. We all get it wrong sometimes and I think he got it wrong this time."

    Asked about the Chancellor's remark, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I was not in the Chamber so I haven't heard it. I'm sure that people are capable of taking some rough and tumble in the Chamber. There seems to be quite a lot of that happens."

    Appearing alongside Mr Cameron at a joint press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I'm sure it wasn't intended as a homophobic remark."