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Dull PMQs rescued by Stewart Jackson MP's "curse of Clegg" phrase

By Tim Montgomerie
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Leveson: Ed Miliband began by asking about Leveson. After last week's remarks about Leveson by Michael Gove - the Education Secretary had talked about the inquiry's "chilling" effect - Cameron agreed that no minister would or should prejudice the course of the hearings. The Prime Minister also said that it was important for all politicians to welcome and defend a robust and free press.

NHS: Ed Miliband then turned for most of his questions - for the third successive PMQs - to the NHS. He listed - at length - opponents of the Bill and asked "Does it ever occur to him that NHS professionals might be right?" Cameron hit back with his own (smaller) list of supporters. He was least persuasive in saying that the NHS reforms were already being implemented; he was most persuasive in saying that competition was bringing benefits to patients.

Labour's Left: When it came to backbench questions a couple of planted questions from Tory MPs were designed to make Labour squirm. Cameron said "red Ken had been caught red handed" in avoiding tax. He also urged Labour to return the money it received from Unite after Unite's leader had disgracefully called for disruption of the Olympics. Warming to his theme the PM also attacked the "Trotskyites" opposing the Coalition's work experience scheme.

A4E: The PM also hit back hard when a Labour MP asked about the PM's closeness to Emma Harrison, now resigned over alleged malpractice at the A4E employment agency. It was Labour who gave Ms Harrison a CBE, said David Cameron, as well as many contracts.

If Cameron was incapacitated: Asked by Peter Bone what would happen if Cameron (God forbid) fell under a bus (a favourite topic of the Tory MP for Wellingborough) Mr Cameron gave a non-reply: "I've been waiting for some time because I know my hon friend has asked this question to almost every Cabinet minister, including the Deputy Prime Minister, who said he seemed to have a "morbid fascination" in the fate of the leader of the Conservative party. All I can say I have no plans to be incapacitated."

The curse of Clegg: Question of the day goes to ConHome's diarist of last week, Stewart Jackson. The Conservative MP for Peterborough asked: "Will the Prime Minister close the loophole for international companies that allows migrant inter-company transfers, or will this be another policy that falls to the curse of Clegg?" The "curse of Clegg". Great phrase.


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