Cameron Squeezed: band sings criticism at PM live on BBC

PM unveils Mahatma Gandhi statue in London

The band Squeeze have staged a protest against David Cameron live on BBC television by changing the lyrics of their new song to rail against the destruction of the welfare state.

Glenn Tilbrook, one of the founding members of the band that once featured Jools Holland, sang a different version of the final verse in the presence of the prime minister to criticise those “hellbent” on destroying the UK’s social safety net.

Squeeze were invited to appear on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, which featured the traditional new year interview with the prime minister; they played out the programme with a live version of a song from their new album, From the Cradle to the Grave.

As the prime minister sat on the sofa watching the band, who were at the height of their fame in the early 1980s, when Cameron was a teenager, Tilbrook amended the last verse to sing:

I grew up in council housing,
Part of what made Britain great,
There are some here who are hellbent,
On the destruction of the welfare state.

In the original version Tilbrook sings:

They say time will wait for no man,
They say time is on my side,
I could never make my mind up,
As it all goes whizzing by.

At the end of the song the prime minister applauded the band, whose other founding member, Chris Difford, also appeared on the show. A BBC source said: “We were unaware that they were planning to change the lyrics.”

The band confirmed on their Facebook page that they had amended the final verse of the song as a protest against the prime minister. They said: “In case you missed our performance on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 this morning, complete with a third verse message for the studio guest David Cameron, check out this link.”

The band’s protest came after the prime minister told Marr of his plans to knock down and rebuild “sink” housing estates. Cameron told the programme: “I think sink housing estates, many built after the war where people can feel trapped in poverty, unable to get on and build a good life themselves, I think it’s time, with government money, but with massive private sector and perhaps pension sector help, to demolish the worst of these and actually rebuild houses that people feel they can have a real future in.”

Powered by article was written by Nicholas Watt Chief political correspondent, for on Sunday 10th January 2016 14.38 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010