With Miliband using all of his questions at PMQs to pin down the Prime Minister on figures from Macmillan Cancer Care that suggest 7,000 patients will be losing out on benefits, the attack was clearly planned in advance. Suspiciously quickly, as in within three minutes after the PM sat down, Mike Hobday from Macmillan was on the Daily Politics defending Miliband’s use of their figures.
Convenient that Hobday was in place outside the Daily Politics and Sky Millbank studios immediately after PMQs…
What a coincidence that he’s a former Labour Party staffer and councillor. He stood for Labour in Welwyn Hatfield at the last election. Miliband denied his attack was a smokescreen, but Hobday just admitted to Sky that he was “pre-warned”. And the rest…
UPDATE: Theo Usherwood, a Press Association political reporter, says Macmillan sent out a statement on Miliband’s questions at 12.10 p.m., unprecedented partisan coordination from a major charity.
“There are 2,493 Pilgrims across the public sector, union officials, paid not to provide the service they represent, but instead do political activities that should be funded by the unions. Without having to pay their staff, the unions can spend the money raised through their subs on other things, like keeping the Labour Party solvent.”
Well there was certainly one happy reader. This is what Aidan Burley had to ask at PMQs:
Mr Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase) (Con): There are currently 2,500 trade union representatives across the public sector paid not to provide the service that they represent but to carry out campaigning activities that should be funded by the unions—and because the unions do not pay their salaries, they can spend their subs on other things, such as subsidising that lot over there. Does the Prime Minister not think it time that that was reformed?
The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend raises an important point. [Hon. Members: “No he doesn’t!”] It is interesting that whenever someone raises a point about union funding they get shouted down by the Labour party, because Labour Members do not want any examination of what trade unions do, or how much money they give to the Labour party. [Interruption.] I think that they protest a little too much
This week, Guido will be exposing another Pilgrim, this time a teacher. In the meantime Guido strongly encourages Aidan and his collegues to sign EDM1799 demanding an end to this obscene loophole.
A dull Council Questions there, but another interesting line from the PM. Last week it was a nod to Michael Winner and “calm down dear” and this week Cameron went for Benny Hill’s favourite ‘fairy dairy land’.
Is there some sort of catchphrase-dropping bet going on?
Cameron evoking Michael Winner at PMQs with “a calm down dear” has led to Labour kicking off and press releasing a demand for an apology. Presumably they are upset that he didn’t say “honorable dear”. Lets hope that someone doesn’t say Go Compare at the dispatch box next week.
Tory MP Anne McIntosh decided not to use one of the six languages that she speaks at PMQs the other day. Although the graphics get in the way, it looks to Guido like she decided to flip the opposition two fingers instead:
Guido is sure it happens a lot, but probably not the best idea when you are sitting behind the Prime Minister. Most Unparliamentary.
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Knifed former civil service chief Bob Kerslake on his recent troubles:
“Many thks for kind wishes following back opn. Incision measured 16cm. A pretty big knife in the back! Photos on request.”