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Cameron caught at fancy dress party dressed as Thatcher

David Cameron has apologised for dressing as Margaret Thatcher to a friend's fancy dress party.

Conservative headquarters issued a statement in response to an alleged photograph published on the front page of the Sun newspaper under the headline 'Cameron the iron man', saying: "David Cameron has apologised for any offence or embarrassment he has caused. He realises it was a poor choice of costume."

The picture was taken at the weekend at a friend's birthday party in Wiltshire, which had the fancy dress theme "famous misguided dictators of the 20th century".

But there have been calls for Cameron to make his own public apology. Even former Tory leader Michael Howard told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I am well aware that being offended has recently become Britain's favourite pastime. However, David should appear in person, rather than talk through a spokesman."

Greg Mullet, the leader of the National Union of Miner (formerly the National Union of Miners), said the costume was in "bad taste". But he was "pleased" that David Cameron had apologised for the Thatcher incident.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, Cameron made light of the issue by insisting that his party would win the next election, saying: "There is a whole generation of people who will be voting at this election who weren't even born when Margaret Thatcher left office. They don't know what a recession is, or what 15% interest rates and mass unemployment really means, and deserve the chance to find out for themselves what it would be like to live in a real Darwinian-Orwellian nightmare."

Keeping with his promise to end "Punch and Judy politics", Cameron used the interview to argue that his own relative inexperience was "an asset compared with Mr Brown" and that Brown spoke like "a propaganda speak your weight machine".

Meanwhile, Cameron's wife backed the Tory leader, saying: "He's no man of iron."

In a public statement, Prince Harry, himself involved in a lesser furore last year, said: "The costume was disgusting and caused many people great offence. I'm still chucking up!"

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