Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Another Craig Oliver Image Success

Tory MPs first clocked something was  up when Rachel Reeves almost sat on Ed Balls’ knee to try and squeeze into shot on the Labour front-bench, along with Harman and Caroline “window dressing” Flint. A nice distraction trick for Ed to point out Cameron’s woman problem, but can only really be used once. Still, it’s not like the Downing Street director of communications has a background in TV management or anything…

Pic via @suttonnick

PMQs Live Chat: Black Rod’s Garden Entrance Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Sir Richard Ottaway (Croydon South)
Q2 Mr Henry Bellingham (North West Norfolk)
Q3 Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry)
Q4 Mr Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness)
Q5 Mr David Heath (Somerton and Frome)
Q6 Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock)
Q7 Gemma Doyle (West Dunbartonshire)
Q8 Jessica Lee (Erewash)
Q9 Henry Smith (Crawley)
Q10 Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)
Q11 Mel Stride (Central Devon)
Q12 Mr John Spellar (Warley)
Q13 Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)
Q14 Pat Glass (North West Durham)
Q15 Jim McGovern (Dundee West)

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PMQs Live Chat: Go Home Edition

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Chloe Smith (Norwich North)

Q2 Andy Sawford (Corby)

Q3 Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth)

Q4 Laura Sandys (South Thanet)

Q5 Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North)

Q6 Clive Efford (Eltham)

Q7 Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex)

Q8 Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Q9 Ian Murray (Edinburgh South)

Q10 Emily Thornberry (Islington South and Finsbury)

Q11 Steve Rotheram (Liverpool, Walton)

Q12 Richard Harrington (Watford)

Q13 Lisa Nandy (Wigan)

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

SKETCH: Labour Bravely Faces the Good News Disaster

Ed Balls’ face said it all. Serious, sombre, stoical. What substance he has, what fortitude. He really has the gravel to face the worst.

Yes, the employment figures were in and they were catastrophic. So wholly and voluptuously positive that If you had instructed your statistician to come up with a Balls-crushing statistic and he’d produced this you would have said: “Steady, we want to be a little bit credible.”

The very morning of PMQs heralded the biggest quarterly rise in employment since the Norman Conquest.

Ed Miliband began a line of questions with the words “today’s welcome fall in unemployment” and prompted the longest, uninterrupted barrage of Tory artillery we’ve had for many years.

A welcome fall, he said. Welcome.

(more…)

PMQs Live Chat: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Edition

At 12.00pm: Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Stephen Timms (East Ham) If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 22 January.

Q2 Nick de Bois (Enfield North)

Q3 Duncan Hames (Chippenham)

Q4 Mr Steve Reed (Croydon North)

Q5 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)

Q6 Simon Kirby (Brighton, Kemptown)

Q7 Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)

Q8 Christopher Pincher (Tamworth)

Q9 David T. C. Davies (Monmouth)

Q10 Ann McKechin (Glasgow North)

Q11 Mark Pawsey (Rugby)

Q12 Mr Michael McCann (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow)

Q13 Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East)

Q14 Jonathan Lord (Woking)

Q15 Damian Hinds (East Hampshire)

Comments in the comments please…

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SKETCH: PM’s Answers More Than Enough for These PMQs
Bercow Compare and Contrast: Bullying Works

The surge in good economic news and the collapse of the Socialist experiment in France has added two new characters to the opposition front bench.

A surly, sullen but above all silent Ed Balls – and a wounded fawn of a Labour leader.

They still do the look they’ve always done – cocked heads looking at the PM as if to say, “What a curious person saying such peculiar things. I wonder if he knows what he thinks he’s saying sounds like?” At school it was called “dumb insolence”. It amused us but works no better now than it did then.

Cameron was back as the Master of the House thanking three or four Labour Members for their suggestions, commending opponents, smiling, taking things seriously, not rising to the bait.

(more…)

PMQs LIVE: Da Bankers Da Bonuses Edition

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Attack Dog Holiday

John Rentoul has been analysing the Miliband mantra to make PMQs all nice and fluffy:

“But something had changed. If I had been more observant, I would have noticed that Michael Dugher, the Labour noise machine, was not sitting in his usual place on the steps of the gangway next to the opposition front bench.”

If he had been more observant, Rentoul would have noticed that Michael Dugher has been Tweeting about being in Israel all week.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sketch: Quiet Commons Helps Cameron


For once, our television screens broadcast a quiet, respectful, intelligent PMQs.

How the public detest it! My mailbag was full of disgusted members of the public complaining about the lack of passion, energy, class war, amusing abuse, animal noises, flying fruit, incarnadine faces and generalised, unspecific roaring.

“If aliens had landed in the middle of this and were told ‘This is how we hold our Government to account’ they’d say, ‘Bollocks you do! That’s just a bunch of kids pretending to be grown-ups!”

Some say the tenor was set by the death of popular Paul Goggins, announced this morning. There was mourning, condolence, fond memories, kind wishes. And this is how it should be, the decencies were observed. Though in my experience, the political reaction is “X has cancer. He’s dying.” “Oh no! That’s awful!” Beat. “What’s the majority?”

(more…)

Tories Deny PMQs Deal

A senior Tory pours cold water on the suggestion by Nick Robinson that today’s PMQs could have been the result of Ed and Dave agreeing to take PMQs down a notch or two after the rowdiness of the last year: “You brief people you want calmer, more dignified when you are losing.” That’s that then.

UPDATE: Ta da:


Seen Elsewhere

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
Opinions on Key Issues By Constituency | Red Box
Britain Irrelevant Inside EU | Dan Hannan
Cameron Heading for Fall on Europe | Rachel Sylvester


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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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