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Cameron was prime ministerial at PMQs today

By Tim Montgomerie
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Screen shot 2011-07-13 at 12.08.09

Much stronger performance from David Cameron today. After a week in which Ed Miliband has set the pace on Hackgate the Prime Minister got the tone right. Responding to a very partisan Leader of the Opposition he reminded Mr Miliband that he employed Tom Baldwin and was a member of a Cabinet that did nothing about these issues. The Prime Minister said both of them could trade such political attacks endlessly but the public didn't want political parties playing these games. The public wanted a parliament that addressed the firestorm in the media and fixed corruption in the police.  

Responding to attacks on his employment of Andy Coulson the PM said that he, the police and the select committee on culture, media and sport had received repeated assurances from him. If those assurances prove to be false it will be right that Mr Coulson is prosecuted. Without recanting his words there was none of last Friday's 'Mr Coulson is a friend'. He confirmed that his Chief of Staff had been presented with allegations from The Guardian about Mr Coulson before the General Election but they hadn't been passed on to him because they did not cover new ground (something denied by Mr Rusbridger on Twitter). Furthermore, said Mr Cameron, he had since met the Editor of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, who had not raised the matter with him.

Mr Cameron said that he had discussed the terms of reference for the judge-led inquiry with Mr Miliband and would be accepting amendments to it that he had suggested. The terms would be further discussed with the family of Milly Dowler and other victims of Hackgate so that the inquiry would enjoy full public confidence.

He confirmed the government's change of mind on the BSkyB takeover. It was now "simply not possible" to disconnect the two issues of malpractice at News Intl and News Corp's BSkyB bid.

He reaffirmed his view that Rebekah Brooks should resign.

Tory MPs roared approval for the PM at every opportunity and were rebuked by the Speaker for "orchestrated noise" (later he allowed Labour MP Geoffrey Robinson to ask a very loooong question). Nearly every backbench Tory MP avoided Hackgate in their questions (except Graham Stuart who raised Lord Ashcroft's allegations against Tom Baldwin) and nearly every Labour MP raised Hackgate (Tom Watson asked an important question about whether 9/11 victims were hacked).

There is a long way to go in this saga but the nation saw a much more assured David Cameron today.


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