David Cameron
David Cameron: lost in Europe (Photo: Reuters) Reuters

Having enjoyed a bounce in the polls following a good start to 2012 the last seven days have added up one of the worst weeks in David Cameron's political career with tensions rising with coalition partners, backbenchers, European and Scottish counterparts along with some hefty blows from Labour. There was even an embarrassing family photo in Brussels.

The International Business Times UK reviews the prime minister's last seven days.

25 January - Negative Growth & PMQs

Cameron receives news that the economy contracted 0.2 percent in the last quarter of 2011 and puts the country at risk of a double-dip recession.

The figures brings into sharp focus the government's austerity measures which have been criticised by the Labour Party for going "too hard too fast".

To rub salt into the wound, Labour leader Ed Miliband calls the prime minister "smug and self-satisfied" during their weekly PMQs clash. That clash also begins a good week for Miliband who uses the prime minister's misfortunes to claw back some much needed political capital.

26 January - Coalition Cracks Emerge

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg breaks rank with the coalition by announcing that the government should go further to help families that are in a "state of emergency".

He said: "Every politician now has a simple choice: do you support a tax system that rewards the hard-working many? Or do you back taxes that favour the wealthy few?"

Chancellor George Osborne reaffirmed that this was Clegg's "personal view" and not coalition policy.

27 January - Anglo-Franco Tensions Rise

Cross-channel tensions rise for the prime minister with the news that the socialist favourite to replace Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential elections in April and May, François Hollande, is ready to declare war on London's financial sector.

Hollande, in a 60-point manifesto, promises to rip up the EU's fiscal treaty and undermine the whole rescue package for the EU.

As relations are strained, London mayor Boris Johnson tells the Times: "I don't want to interfere in French domestic politics but we want to prevent the French making a mistake that would damage the UK economy. It is important that a vital part of the UK services industry should not be damaged by reason of short-term political vindictiveness."

28 January - Bonus Mayhem

Miliband puts Cameron under increasing pressure to block the £1m bonus of RBS' chief executive Stephen Hester.

The prime minister maintains that Stephen Hester's contract should be honoured and causes uproar among the public over the lavish rewards the taxpayer-backed bank is receiving. Late the following day, Hester himself declines the bonus and undermines Cameron's stance. Miliband has a field day with the media.

The prime minster is accused of weakness by cartoonists over his handling of the RBS bonus problem.

29 January - Cameron Accused of Pushing Scotland Away

The Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond reopens a new war of words on Scottish independence accusing Cameron of a "dictatorial intervention" after a Sunday Express poll suggests that, for the first time, a majority of people wanted an independent Scotland.

Salmond said: "Some of that increase in support for independence is a reaction against the sort of dictatorial line we've been getting from some of the pronouncements from Downing Street.

"The prime minister would do well to listen to the voice of the people and try to conduct this debate with a bit more positivity."

30 January - Cold-Shouldered at Family Photo

Just seven weeks after Cameron vetoed a new EU treaty, Cameron was back in Brussels. Waiting for the famous "family photo" of Europe's political leaders he found that he was shoved at the back corner of shot, making him look like a man on the outside. It was not clear if this had anything to do with the veto in December, but it made a good talking point.

31 January - Eurosceptics Angry Over U-turn

As if the past six days couldn't get any worse, Cameron manages to upset another group of people - his own party.

Having vetoed the EU treaty in December, Tory backbenchers criticise the prime minister for making a U-turn on allowing the 25 other countries of the Union who have voted for a fiscal pact to carry on using the institutions.

Speaking in Brussels, Cameron said that he wanted to help the eurozone stabilise and would allow the new fiscal pact to use the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.

Once again Miliband was not too far away from a bit of political point-scoring.

He said: "If you walk away from the negotiating table it is very hard to secure a good deal for your country.

"He went into these talks saying his real worry was about financial services and how that would be affected if other countries went ahead. He has secured no extra protections for financial services."