Wednesday, October 22, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Cameron Rubs Salt Into Bercow’s Wounds

The only really enjoyable part of PMQs came right at the end in a question on immigration, and time running out. The PM broke off his answer with an abrupt change of subject to congratulate ex-Chief Clerk Sir Robert Rogers on his peerage.

It had been an indirect attack on the Speaker to make the hated Rogers a peer, now a slightly less indirect way of rubbing salt into the open wound that sits in the Speaker’s chair.

The House loved it. And not just Tories. Witnesses inside the Chamber said the cheering came from both sides of the House and went on for a parliamentary eternity (about 15 seconds).

The Speaker busied himself in conversation with his secretary. He wasn’t taking on that mob.

Feelings about the Speaker are like a tsunami wave travelling a long distance. Out at sea the wave looks like any other. Only when the seabed rises approaching land does the wave rise and reveal itself.

That was one moment of the wave passing an island. Up it reared.

In every second of every cheer the House was saying, “We know what you’re like. You bullied, browbeat, berated, swore at a decent man until he couldn’t take it any more and quit the job that meant the world to him. You have revealed yourself. And we won’t forget it.”

The occasion passes, the wave resumes its normal height, but it’s still traveling with undiminished power .

(more…)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: Maybe Miliband Has a Chance

The Nolan principles of sketch writing – fairness, objectivity, kindness and so forth, I forget them exactly. Does he offer refresher courses?

Miliband today was, I thought, as bad as he’d ever been.

The face a mash-up of several untamed animals. The angry eight-year-old delivery. The whole package that of a bedroom boy locked away with his best friend, making economic models out of Lego. Not even worth breaking up for parts. And the drivel!

“Too harsh. He was quite good today,” one of his Labour enemies said.  “The big story is whether Freud will survive the day.”

What! No! Really? As a result of Miliband’s questions? But that must mean he did quite well!

Seriously?

(more…)

WATCH: UKIP’s First Prime Minister’s Question

UKIP’s first elected MP used his PMQ to call on David Cameron to keep his promise on a “real” Recall Bill. The Tories had been encouraged to not barrack Douglas Carswell out of respect for the people of Clacton. “I look forward to having them in the House of Commons,” said Dave. Talking about debates on Recall rather than UKIP MPs…

PMQs is Back: Who Is Asking the Questions Today

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North)

Q2 Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) 

Q3 Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) 

Q4 Robert Halfon (Harlow) 

Q5 Mr Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)

Q6 Graham Jones (Hyndburn)

Q7 Mr David Ward (Bradford East) 

Q8 Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields) 

Q9 Jenny Chapman (Darlington) 

Q10 Mr Steve Reed (Croydon North) 

Q11 Lorely Burt (Solihull)

Q12 Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham) 

Q13 Richard Harrington (Watford) 

Will UKIP’s first elected MP be called by the Speaker?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

PMQs Off: Joint Statement From Cam, Clegg and Ed

They’re very, very rattled. A joint statement announces that, in the panic, PMQs is off tomorrow:

“There is a lot that divides us – but there’s one thing on which we agree passionately: the United Kingdom is better together. That’s why all of us are agreed the right place for us to be tomorrow is in Scotland, not at Prime Minister’s Questions in Westminster. We want to be listening and talking to voters about the huge choice they face. Our message to the Scottish people will be simple: ‘We want you to stay.’”

Crisis mode. Accountability out of the window for a last minute flap.

UPDATE:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

PMQs Order Paper: Quitting Chris Kelly to Question Cam

Douglas Carswell’s decision to do the honourable thing means we will likely be denied a box office showdown with the PM for a few more weeks. There is however a question for the departing Chris Kelly on today’s PMQs order paper:

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Eric Joyce (Falkirk)

Q2 Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) 

Q3 Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) 

Q4 Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) 

Q5 Mr Tom Watson (West Bromwich East) 

Q6 Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) 

Q7 Richard Drax (South Dorset) 

Q8 Dr Matthew Offord (Hendon)

Q9 Dr Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast South) 

Q10 Lindsay Roy (Glenrothes)

Q11 Jim Shannon (Strangford) 

Q12 Karl Turner (Kingston upon Hull East)

Q13 Mark Menzies (Fylde) 

Q14 Chris Kelly (Dudley South)

Kelly famously denied bursting into tears during his last showdown with Dave in 2010. And emotions are still running high among Tory backbenchers…

Bercow Braced for Post-PMQs Showdown

All eyes on the Speaker at today’s back to school PMQs. Yesterday Bercow scarpered before Michael Fabricant could give him a grilling and this morning he is spinning hard in the FT about how Clerk stitch up of the Clerk job isn’t a “power grab”, honest. Fabbers is hoping to be called for more Points of Order after PMQs today, and he also has a few for Hague tomorrow at Questions to the Leader of the House. There’s no getting out of it for the Speaker this time, he has submitted written questions as well:

Popcorn…

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

PMQs SKETCH: The Best Reshuffle in Modern Times

Animal noises greeted Cameron’s arrival in the Commons. Countrymen will have recognised the noise that hogs make when the swill bucket arrives. Oh, it’s such a time to be a Tory. The best reshuffle in modern times has put the party onto an election-winning footing. They express their pleasure in the most elemental way.

Emma Lewell-Buck couldn’t make a dent in their cheerfulness:

“There are more bald men with £5m property portfolios and sons at public school going out with girls called Tallulah than there are women in the cabinet,” she declared, nearly.

Cameron said the gynemetrics of the cabinet were pretty good and absent those hoary reactionaries of the Liberal Democrats they’d be even better: a third of Conservative cabinet is now female.

Every week Cameron looks easier, calmer, more in control of his party, his policy and his election plan – and every week his opponent dances at the despatch box like a spastic marionette. What a rout it’s turning into.

(more…)

WATCH: Miliband and Harman Divided on Tax

Look closely at the contrasting reactions of Miliband and Harman to Cameron’s PMQs ambush. Dave reads Harman’s words back to her: “I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes”. Miliband looks at Harman, then turns back towards the PM, shaking his head and waving his hand dismissively. Harman, meanwhile, nods and says, “they should… it’s true”. Cameron doesn’t realise, but the Tories behind him do.

The Labour leader and his deputy are completely at odds…

UPDATE: The contrast is even more evident in GIF form:

PMQs LIVE: #BringBackOurBoys Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields)

Q2 Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) 

Q3 Mr Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) 

Q4 Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North)

Q5 Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore)

Q6 Andrew Jones (Harrogate and Knaresborough) 

Q7 Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon)

Q8 Mr Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East) 

Q9 Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central) 

Q10 Mr Stephen O’Brien (Eddisbury) 

Q11 Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot) 

Q12 Julie Elliott (Sunderland Central)

Q13 Julian Sturdy (York Outer)

Q14 Ian Lucas (Wrexham) 

Comments in the comments please…


Seen Elsewhere

5 Things We Learned From Guido’s Party | GQ
Revealed: Guido Fawkes Anniversary Dinner Guestlist | Peter Oborne
More Owen Jones Errors | Michael Ezra
Why Should Men Get Equal Maternity Leave? | Laura Keynes
Dentists Have Last Laugh Over Sneering Keynes | FT
Why’s Clegg Giving Men Paternity Leave? | Conservative Women
Cam Cannot Stem EU Immigration | David Keighley
9 Mansion Tax Questions for Ed Balls | TPA
Politicians are Lying to You About Immigration | Alex Wickham
Give Journalists Public Interest Defence in Law | Guardian
Cameron is Going to Have to Deal With UKIP | Dan Hodges


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Chris Bryant talks to the Times Diary about a famous gay actor:

“I don’t think I’ve had sex with him. He says we had sex in Clapham. I’m fairly certain I’ve never had sex south of the river”



Progressive Inclusion Champion says:

Great to hear Carswell call for inclusive policies and that UKIP must stand for first and second generation immigrants as much as the English.


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