Cameron's 'non' to popularity-boosting affair and why Miliband's cost of living crisis could come unstuck

It was a lively lobby briefing for journalists in Westminster this morning, with the PM’s spokesman (who just happens to be of French descent) being pressed on whether David Cameron might consider having an affair in order to boost his popularity ratings.

Unsurprisingly the answer was a very diplomatic “non,” which sent tittering journalists off wondering which members of parliament, if any, might consider it a last ditch option ahead of the election in 2015.

The question came ahead of a much anticipated press conference this afternoon, which will see French president François Hollande answer questions about the state of the French economy, and likely more besides.

His rumoured affair with French actress Julie Gayet has left his partner Valérie Trierweiler in hospital and caused an unexpected jump in his own popularity, seemingly proving that all news is good news, in France at least.

Also on the agenda at the daily press meeting was Cabinet, where the chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander took ministers through the government’s infrastructure plans for 2014 and the Secretary of State for Scotland gave an update on the Scottish referendum, in light of the announcement yesterday that the UK government would continue to guarantee debts no matter the outcome of the referendum vote.

The Chancellor George Osborne also roused colleagues with news that inflation fell to two per cent, the first time the target has been met in four years.

This, of course, could prove difficult for Labour – who played down the figure in a press release this morning calling it a “small fall.” Their cost of living line may come unstuck if the economy, and public opinion with it, continues to improve. According to a new poll in the Guardian today, Labour are just three points clear of the Conservatives and 52 per cent of voters polled are now confident about their financial position.

Another sticking point for Labour will be the number of their voters who think immigration is damaging: 56 per cent compared to 52 per cent of Conservative voters. Ed Miliband must turn public opinion around in these key areas if he wants to stand any chance of winning an outright majority in 2015.