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Love the way Blair accused Cameron of using a "pre-arranged soundbite" at PMQ's! The horror!

In other news, Pope professes adherence to Catholic doctrine, and ursines favour arboreal defaecation scenarios.

One of Morton Blackwell's Law of the Public Policy Process: don't get mad except on purpose...

What did Ming say?

Donal - I've not seen PMQs yet. Did Cameron break the rule, or was his anger real and justified?

I have to say I was unimpressed by Cameron's performance - he let Blair get the better of him in a way Howard would not have. He seems to stick too closely to his script without really thinking on his feet. By now we know Blair will blame any problem on the previous tory administration and spout statistics showing how things have improved under Labour. Cameron must be ready to come back on this.

Good thinking from the PM on a new presumption of deportation - it will play well in the tabloids and politically the tories will have to support it. Never mind the fact that it will inevitably be held to contravene our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights - by then the crisis will have blown over.

I'm pretty despondent about PMQs today, I think Blair's managed to wiggle his way out of trouble again and, like Ruth Kelly before him, Clarke is going to hang on despite his patent imcompetence. The media may still spin it our way, but given their liberal-bias I doubt it.

Breaking News - Clarke has just admitted to being patronising!

About time someone got angry.Recent Tory spokesmen all seem to have gone into 'more in sorrow than in anger' mode (even amazingly DD!).In doing so they have in my (albeit very limited) experience misjudged the mood out there which seems to be one of fury.
The Clarke furore may not be much of a suprise to political anoraks like us who follow closely events at the Home Office but for ordinary non political people I think it has been a terrible shock.

Tony Blair is far too clever and experienced at evading answering questions and always referring to the Conservatives' previous performance. It will be better for David Cameron if/when Gordon Brown takes over as he won't be as good at PMQs as Blair.

The more a government minister messes up, the less likely they are to resign.

The failure of the government to use the powers it has is immediate justification for a whole new set of powers.

Vote Conservative on May 5th.

Actually, don't. Vote the day before ;-)

I guess Blair could reshuffle the pack after the locals to take Clarke away from the HO perhaps into a less senior role thus keeping an ally in the cabinet but also responding to the scandal without seeming to bow to Tory pressure.

How long, do you think, before Blair dares to be elsewhere on a Wednesday - thus leaving his revered deputy to the mercy of William Hague?!

Prescott will probably be gone by then Richard. Or he will be ill.

Sorry, but the Editor completely misread this PMQs. It was an *incredibly weak* performance by Cameron, Blair wiped the floor with him. And I saw absolutely no anger, not to mention 'rightenous anger'.

Blair talked in bureaucratese, although he was given an impossible brief to defend but he did it well, and sounded reasonable.

Cameron is a good public speaker, but a bad debater, because he is a bad listener. He never, ever actually LISTENS to what Blair is saying and then RESPONDS to his point. This requires a level of improvisation, of thinking on his feet, that is apparently beyond him.

Cameron has been dealt such a terrific hand this week, he is obviously a lucky man, but he didn't do anything with it. Just think back to Blair circa 1995-1997. He wiped the floor with Major week after week. He destroyed him.

Cameron does nothing of the kind. He reads his pre-prepared questions and completely fails to score any points.

Weak performance, yet again.

Will Prescott need 30 men to help him prepare for his next PMQ with Hague?

Neither Iain Dale or Nick Assinder at the BBC agree with you at all Goldie.I haven't seen it yet so don't have a view.
Perhaps your hatred of Cameron is clouding your judgement.

Will Prescott need 30 men to help him prepare for his next PMQ with Hague?

Indeed, at least Cameron has the decency to his bike outside the office.

What matters is not really PMQ's, but how well Cameron does in Thursday's elections.

Anything less than 35% would be a disaster.

Whilst I didn't see Cameron at PMQs, I did read Davis' response online. I thought Davis was spot on when he said:

"I understand he intends to introduce new powers to create a presumption of deportation for foreign criminals.

I applaud the intent. But let me just remind him of the powers he already has.

The 1971 Immigration Act gives him explicit powers to deport any non-British citizen, and I will quote section 3 Sub section 5, "If he deems deportation to be conducive to the public good:"

Interesting that Brown didn't come along. He's stayed well away from the whole of this recent debacle, and is no doubt trying to distance himself from the Prescott/Clarke/Hewitt affairs.

@malcolm: I usually disagree with Nick Assinder. When he thinks DC was bad, I think he's good, and the opposite apparently. I form my own opinions.

By the way, I don't "hate" Cameron at all; actually I rather like him and was an enthusiastic supporter during the leadership campaign --a May Cameroon indeed! I would still have voted for Cameron had I known everything that has since happened. I just don't think the way he conceives of "Project Cameron" is right. I'm especially disappointed with his economic views. And on Europe, his misled us and I'm very disappointed in him. I hope for bad results for the Tories because I desperately believe Cameron needs to change.

Goldie, just watch the clips on the news. They're using Cameron saying: "People listening to that answer will think it was pathetic"

Just one of the many lines Cameron ad libbed today.

Blair beat Major hands down because he's good at this. And more proof of that is that you've fallen for Blair's pre-prepared line about Cameron reading out his answers.

'And on Europe, his misled us and I'm very disappointed in him.'

We don't know that yet Goldie. It was obvious we wouldn't withdraw from the EPP straight away. I myself, am prepared to wait until the end of the year before I will judge if he has misled us or not.

Just watched it.

Blair bested Cameron - incredible feat given the hand he was dealt.

Very disspointing that Teflon Tony is getting away with all this - can't one of the good debaters like Hague stand in for Dave?

"The 1971 Immigration Act gives him explicit powers to deport any non-British citizen, and I will quote section 3 Sub section 5, 'If he deems deportation to be conducive to the public good:'"

Errr... Since 1971, we've had a minor change in the nature of our government, which seemed to have happened about 1973 - you know, the (then) EEC thing. See Article 39 of the Consolidated Treaty and, of course, Directive 2004/38/EC - to say nothing of the European Convention on Human Rights, with Art. 8 amplified by Moustaquim v. Belgium.

These provisions heavily curtail the "conducive" powers of the 71 Act.

Goldie.You hope for bad results for the Tories tomorrow. Madam you are no Conservative you are a traitor and should be ashamed of yourself.
I have no time at all for those like you with your disloyalty and here today gone tomorrow support.

I did not see the PMQ's in full but the BBc's 6pm news clip showed an angry DC telling everyone that the PM's answer was pathetic.
DC won hands down on what was shown and lets face it very few members of the voting public watch the whole thing.

I agree with Robbo. Virtually no floating voters watches the entire PMQs and it's the soundbite on the news that counts. Cameron came out well on that.

It's wonderful that Clarke hangs on. the longer he insults the British people by his continued presence, the more they will turn on Labour.

While I wish DD luck in getting his scalp, I don't want him to get it too soon.

Showing that soundbite doesnt really mean that Cameron came out top. It simply helps the story of "Labour in crisis mode". Doesnt necessarily mean Cameron beat Blair. To be honest given the situation, its an open goal 3 yards from DC. If Clarke doesnt go, then DC is failing in his job because it seems pretty easy to force Clarke out.

"While I wish DD luck in getting his scalp, I don't want him to get it too soon."

I suspect that is exactly what they are doing. The front bench know that the public want Clarkes head on a platter, they also know that to give them just that too soon will not give us the advantage of free negative press aimed directly at Blair and the entirity of Labour. It keeps reinforcing the point DONT VOTE LABOUR tomorrow.

I just hope that the public do give Blair an absolute kicking and perhaps we can get rid of the entire Blair lot, directly after having won a significant victory in the Local elections.

Does anyone know if there is video of PMQs anywhere on the interweb yet?

Oops. Spoke too soon. Found it:



@Jack Stone--whatever: I believe in conservatism over Conservatives, in ideas over institutions, and in principle over party. Apparently, you're with your party, "right or country". Good luck with that. But there is an important difference between a rebel, which I am, and a traitor, the very opposite of which I am. Your line of reasoning gave us, among many other bad things, the Maastricht Treaty.

sorry country=wrong

@northwest: I've watched every single PMQs since Cameron became leader. Not the snippets on the news, but the real thing. I've formed my opinions of them based thereon. Cameron never really engages Blair. He prepares his questions beforehand and mostly reads them, usually ignoring whatever Blair is saying.
Blair is much better at PMQs than Cameron.

The brilliant Dr. Richard North agrees with me. I take great comfort in that, he is almost always right:


Nick Assinder would agree with you Goldie.He has given Blair far more victories to Blair than Cameron.Not last week nor today 'though.

Blair ignores the questions so why shouldn't Cameron ignore the answers? (that's tongue in cheek by the way before anyone launches on me)

The test in PMQs isnt prepared questions, though as a starter one is useful to get the ball rolling. The real test is on the on the spot job. How to think off the cuff. Cameron doesnt have that extra little something that divides the good from the great. Hague has it, Blair still has it, Cameron...no, but he can pick it up off Hague though. PMQs is losing my interest.

For Cameron, his ultimate test is through not criticising the others, but coming up with sensible alternatives outside of the Parliamentary buildings.

Is David having enough sugars in his tea? if not he should consider it.

Yes, Blair is better at PMQ's than Cameron (which is expected - he's been doing it for over a decade), but we at least got the media to swing it our way this week.

Labour tend to get a tag line that they think will resonate well with the public, whether true or not, and repeat enough times until the public thinks it's true. We tried this ourselves with the GB 'roadblock to reform' except it's not one people relate to. Cameron needs to find his line of attack quickly, and something about how Blair can't blame every problem on the previous government when they've been in for 9 years themselves.

We can't expect the media to swing it our way every week.

Local elections- any reports and news....it is all so quiet today. Is that because the Tories are out on the streets? Hope so!

Come on...give us some info!

Blair's strategy at PMQs and at election is to pull out a load of comparitive 2006-1997 dodgy statistics and whine in his irritating school boy voice.

The Conservatives need to work out a response to this...and they must be able to...because we were far better than Labour, even at the worst of times.

I think Cameron struck out today. Blair was vulnerable, but he didn't land any hits. That said, I don't think he's been as appalling over the last few weeks as some on here claim.

I am concerned, however, by our continuing inability to skittle Clarke out.

I have watched every Cameron PMQ's [& every one, almost, before that] avidly. I am biased because I want him to make a significant impact. Blair is greatly better than he used to be, both on PMQ's and generally, in my view. I'm talking about presentation - on content he is just about exactly the the same - shallow and slippery for the most part - everything for that moment's soundbite. You have to be very quick and knowledgeable about the subject to bring him up sharp in PMQ's. [thinking about today's PMQ's I think there were at least 2 lies]. However, I think DC does quite well at PMQ's and sometimes he is very effective.

I have been watching full PMQ's since William Hague's day and I think you guys give way too much credit to Blair and are way too harsh on Cameron. I mean what do you want Cameron to do? Make Blair cry and admit that it is all his fault?

There is actually very little answers given in PMQ's - all Blair does is to :
1. ensure he is taking measures to solve whatever problem and he will be passing laws
2. the problem was inherited from previous Conservative government no matter how long ago
3. whatever laws were passed to help out were opposed by "the party opposite"

This is the standard strategy of Blair's PMQ brief and he revered back to this again today in front of visibly angry Cameron.

Incidentally, the latest PMQ's is held on the BBC web site [as well as other goodies like Question Time, Any questions, etc].
Also, incidentally, I have long thought that it must be worth investigating and, if possible, challenging the relentless mantra from this government that due to their policies for the NHS and the money poured into it there has been a tremendous reduction in mortality from heart disease and cancer. So, to come back to Question Time last week good old Charley Falconer dutyfully trotted out these glowing statistics. However, his questioner - a cardiac specialist - brought him up short by explaining very precisely and impressively that there had been no deviation whatever in the declining graph line for heart mortality since Labour came to power as compared the to the years prior. Falconer literally had no answer. If this is correct, and I suspect strongly that it is - and if cancer rates are anything like the same then I really do think they - labour - should be challenged very strongly - [Mr Lansley]. It is at least 50% of their justification of what they are doing with the NHS.

I do agree with you - I was meaning his presentation has got better - more assured, mostly.

so how can we judge fairly who "won"?

I think reaction in the House told it all. Deathly quiet from Labour backbenches and Tories were rowdy as hell. Where was Gordon Brown? Charles Clarke is a goner, he was sitting in sidelines looking like a beaten man. Jack Straw looked nervous of being so close to the frontline. Sure, Tony Blair was better than last week when he didn't even have a strategy or any numbers to back his claim - and his claim to promise new legistlation to deport foreign criminals was neat trick - but I cannot say in all honesty that he won. Call it a draw, if that.

I think David Cameron got what he wanted - excellent soundbite on the "Murders, rapists and paedophiles released from prison and the Prime Minister does not want to to know about it immediately!". This will play extremely well on the headline news tonight. He also managed get straight denial from Blair about the massaging of immigration numbers - this will have potential to come back and haunt Blair. Clever play, but no demolition of Blair like last week (which I thought was worst performance from PM I have seen).

It looks like the European Human Rights legistlation will not allow Blair to proceed with the immediate deportation of foreign prisoners - so it looks like Blair's team cooked this response to make him look tough and seem to be "tackling the problem". It has worked to certain extent as it certainly will lessen the impact of this fiasco. Clever play to buy some time.

However, why didn't his team think of this before? I mean they had this story running now for almost 2 weeks and only to come up with the day before election? I'm sure in Campbell was running the show this would have been pretty much the instant response!

Getting sloppy...

It was a score draw. The reaction from the Commons doesnt say who won. Lets not forget they cheer for particular sides...

Blair was always going to have a tough time today given the crisis the government is facing. How could they smile with this swirling around them...they cant. So a win isnt simply reaction in the Commons. Soundbites doesnt always do it. A win today should have been Blair wishing he'd never have entered the Chamber. This should be easy pickings for him with his team giving him hints prior to it. Todays PMQs should be the time where Cameron drives the final nail in the poltiical coffin owned by Charles Clarke.

"If Clarke doesnt go, then DC is failing in his job because it seems pretty easy to force Clarke out."

James, what exactly would your plan be? Clarke isn't going because Blair doesn't want him to. End of story

As PMQs really doesn't mean much who cares.

However, Cameron needs to go futher, he needs to sound harshers, more hateful, more disgusted as a patriot.

It would appear, Mr Editor, that anyone disgreeing with Mr Jack Stone over the direction that Mr Cameron is taking the oddly and whimsically named Conservative Party is a "traitor". As someone who has served in HM Forces I greatly resent his stupid remarks. Tell him to lighten up or "bugger off" to quote him.
There are some that would vote Conservative no matter what colour it pinned to its chest. I am not one of them and I wont be tomorrow. The likes of Jack Stone convinces me of the foolishness of supporting the present wayward Tories.

"As someone who has served in HM Forces I greatly resent his stupid remarks"

For the millionth time...

Jack Stone is a UKIP-supporting interloper. He boasted about trying to wind up people here on the UKIP forum under the name UKMike.

I finally got around to watching PMQ,s late last night, and I thought DC was making Blair thrash around nicely. TB always gets slightly hyper when he is rattled. It would be interesting to have a head count on CH just to see how many of CH posters do not like DC, and are detirmined to undermine him by fair means or foul, and knowing that the media does check this site for "divided party" that they might exploit.
I joined Chameleon Army, but I would be quite distressed If I had merely joined a "knock Cameron Brigade" Stupid me, I figured we were trying to achieve a Conservative Government.

Something has gone drastically wrong for this technophobe! It would not post, then it requested a code, then it said the page was not available, then the B... thing posted three? Editor, can you reduce this to one please! I want to make the point, but this is ridiculous!!


Think its important we do make sure that we concentrate our efforts on the real enemy; the Labour, LibDem (or LibDims - did you see Newsnight last night, enjoyed the Ferudian slip) UKIP, Greens etc. Ive also become concerned about the increasingly vociferous minority swamping discussion whose objective seems to be to undermine the leadership and the party.

There are those who have a different vision of the direction of the party and make cogent, reasoned arguements why we should highlight the "core" issues. But there are many who seem to come on this blog (probably UKIP, BNP sympathisers) whose main interest is disruption - trolling I think its called.

The only way to defeat their attempts is either through posting the positives about what we want to achieve & ignoring them or taking them on. As their purpose isn't to discuss the latter isn't effective but can be satisfying. We've already seen a few posters give up and become occasional visitors. Its important that the vocal disruptive minority don't destroy CHome so keep on posting.

I am afraid Richard old son that person is simply not me and I repeat what I have said before anyone who`s says I support UKIP are liars.
If you join a political party I am afraid you have to realise you will not agree with all its policies. Show me someone who does say that and they are a liar but I am afraid if you join any organisation you should show loyalty to this organisation.
I believe loyalty is the bedrock that sucess is built on from the quality of our character to the strength of our nation and I am afraid that anyone who does not show loyalty to the Conservative party and they are a member of the party are a traitor.
I am afraid that ex members of the armed forces are unlikely to support the sort of party David Cameron is trying to build as they usually regard anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher as a damed lefty!

Jack,your last post contains a remark which is frankly aboslote tosh!I know several current 'and former members of the armed forces' who are absolutely desperate for a Conservative victory.Unless you have any any evidence for these opinions I suggest you keep them to yourself.

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