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Questions for the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition?

Cameron@PMQs On Saturday John Major and Douglas Hurd proposed that non-parliamentarians should be appointed as government ministers and should be held to account at the Commons dispatch box.  Richard Heller (a former adviser to Labour's Denis Healey), writing in the Yorkshire Post, suggests another innovation - Questions to the Leader of the Opposition:

"Imagine a cricket match in which one side bowls all the time and the other side bats. There will be flurries of excitement – wickets to the bowlers, boundaries from the batsmen. But the match itself will be boring and meaningless, and the spectators (if any) will have no idea who is the better side. This is a fair comparison with Prime Minister's Questions – supposedly the high point of Parliament's week. David Cameron, as the Opposition leader, does nothing but bowl...

The leader of the Opposition is an office of state, clearly recognised as such in Britain's otherwise shambolic constitution, and paid for by the taxpayer....

Parliament should therefore introduce Opposition Leader's Question Time to match Prime Minister's Questions. For half an hour each week, David Cameron should face questions about any issue for which he has some responsibility as Leader of the Opposition – whether it is Conservative policies, or finances, or the conduct of the party's representatives in Parliament, or anything else which is likely to influence public judgment on his ability as the alternative premier."

It is no surprise that a Labour supporter is suggesting this constitutional revolution.  The Left is desperate to put the spotlight on the Tory leader.  It's not an uninteresting idea, however, and I'd put money on David Cameron being very good at it.

Tim Montgomerie


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