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The Prime Minister is Thomas the Tank Engine, while Ed Miliband is an Octonaut

David Cameron thinks he is like Thomas the Tank Engine

Children’s TV characters were discussed alongside child benefit, the NHS, and opportunities for our younger generation in a Q&A session with the UK’s political leaders on Netmums

The leaders of the UK’s main political parties have revealed which children’s TV character they are most like.

“He’s a British icon, he’s blue, he’s loyal and reliable”

While Labour leader Ed Miliband saw himself as brave polar bear Captain Barnacle, the PM insisted he was Thomas the Tank Engine, saying: “People have said I look like his friend, Spencer, but I’d rather be Thomas. He’s a British icon, he’s blue, he’s loyal and reliable – and he always saves the day. And after 30 years on our screens he hasn’t aged at all!”

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg likened himself to Paddington Bear, explaining: “he always seems to muddle his way happily through the trickiest situations.” 

Each party leader was given 800 words to answer 10 questions from Netmums members - five from the parents and five from their children – to lay out their plans to appeal to mums and dads in the upcoming general election. The subjects ranged from light-hearted to the more serious, focusing on child benefit, their own parenting styles, the NHS, and more. 

While their TV choices were diverse, those party leaders with children were united in insisting they were just normal parents when they did the school run. PM David Cameron said he took children Florence, Elwen and Nancy to school at least once a fortnight.  

The party leaders laid bare their differences over areas including the NHS, child benefit and future chances for children. While Plaid Cymru revealed it would consider reintroducing Child Benefit as a universal benefit, Labour insisted the current arrangement would stay despite claiming the changes were ‘mishandled’.

On the NHS, the PM said he planned to increase spending on the service

On the NHS, the PM said he planned to increase spending on the service.  But Labour Leader Ed Miliband claimed the Tories had ‘wasted £3 billion on an unwanted top-down reorganisation of the NHS’ and that the service was ‘the Labour Party's greatest achievement - we created it, we saved it and we will always support it.’

And on future opportunities for UK kids, Ed Miliband said he was “really worried” that “it is now almost taken for granted that young people will find life harder than their parents.”

The Lib Dems also revealed they plan to build 300,000 new homes each year 

But the PM hit back asserting moves towards for more apprenticeships and the removal of the cap on university places will ‘effectively abolish youth unemployment’. Meanwhile SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon maintained her party ‘will fight attempts by the Westminster parties to cut benefits for young people’, while Plaid Cymru plan to support small and medium sized businesses will help create more jobs for youngsters. The Lib Dems also revealed they plan to build 300,000 new homes each year to help young people get on to the housing ladder.

The issue of term-time holidays provided among the most divisive question put to the leaders. While the SNP and Ed Miliband stood firm with the Labour leader saying ‘no child should miss a day of school unless it can’t be avoided’, the PM claimed his plans for schools and councils to power to set their own term times would help to alleviate the high cost of family holidays. Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood told how her party wants to re-structure school terms with more frequent but shorter school holidays.

But Nick Clegg insisted he wanted a common sense approaching, saying: “It's impossible for a politician in Whitehall to predict the myriad of circumstances that come up in individual families' lives - which is why I think that head teachers should work with parents to take these decisions, rather than government imposing inflexible rules.”

Each party did back moves to support firms to offer more flexible working patterns for parents to help working families and those who want to get back into work. 

>>FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE

Photos: Isopix/REX, Shutterstock

 
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