« Alistair Burt joins Whip's Office with important development role | Main | What the Tories should do next... »


Good measured performance by Cameron today. Makes Brown look the raving maniac he is.

First question from DC was a little weak, but the rest were spot on. Brown once again looked deeply uncomfortable and towards the end of the exchange seems to lose his temper, although there was no shaking hand.

Clearly another DC win.

Turning to the Lib Dems, it was a weak performance which led to a predictable rebuttal from Brown with the Calamity Clegg dossier.

Like the question from Philip Dunne, it even got a good laugh.

Cameron doesn't sound confident on economic issues.

Brown was massively evasive, though perhaps survived from a narrow debating view point.

The speaker however made an incredible intervention only saving himself at the last minute by saying the leader of the opposition didn't have to answer the prime minister questions.

I'm sure I remember a time when Prime Ministers actually answered questions. But not with Brown/Blair.

Douglas, can Tory MPs do anything about the Speaker? He seems to have no clue about basic Parliamentary procedure. "The Leader of the Opposition will answer the Prime Minister's questions as he sees fit" ....? He corrected himself but why does he constantly allow GB to ask questions?

And why did he tell a totally silent set of Tory MPs to "allow the Prime Minister to answer"?

Isn't it time to demand his resignation?

Does Brown not realise that Prime Minister's Questions is for others to ask him questions, not for him to ask questions to others? It drives me mad when he keeps asking Cameron questions!

"Cameron doesn't sound confident on economic issues."

There's nothing about Brown's rapidly deteriorating ponzi economy to sound confident about.

I really don't think we can claim a win on this performance. DC could have appealed to the Speaker to stop Brown from launching into a party political, he could have pointed out that PMQs is for others to ask the PM questions, not the other way round, and finally to contest Brown's repeated mantra that inflation is down to 2.1%, half that of the USA. Real inflation is not and Brown, Balls etc should not be allowed to get away with it.

Brown is now firmly in Blair mode: if you don't like a question, refuse to answer it and embark on a party political.

DC will have to change tack, to move onto other subjects, to make fun of Brown and try and anger him.

"Brown refuses to give a running commentary on figures", now that really is priceless. This man has no self-knowledge. His political career in office has consisted of litle else.

Brian Binley, what a waste of space.

Rather than just ponitificating about the Speaker's incompetence, maybe it's time to do something. Is the party prepared to contest his re-election after the next general election?

And since the convention is that the Speaker's seat is not contested by the main parties so that he can remain impartial, I think we should signal that the Speaker has broken his side of the agreement and face a contested election.

Because he (Gorbals Mick) is tribal and utterly partisan. Allowing Brown to ask questions of DC interrupts DC's flow of questions and takes air-time away from Brown being evasive to DCs questions. Gorbals is tacitly and discracefully supporting this tactic to protect Brown.
Gorbals Mick should resign as possibly the worst speaker ever. I don't know what parliamentary procedure is here, but can we raise a motion of no confidence in the speaker?

PMQs is getting so boring, it's almost making me cry - if I didn't have to watch it for work I wouldn't bother at all.

Why are MPs unable to exhibit behaviour norms beyond those of eight-year old children?

When was the last time the Conservatives ran against a Speaker (obviously from an oppostion party) in a GE?
I think the present Speaker is utterly useless and the most partisan we've had in a long time, but I can't see the party running against him at the GE.
But we should definitely press for his replacement as soon as possible.

Last week I suggested that when he was asked by Brown Cameron should pause and ask the speaker whether he should answer as he wasn't yet the Prime Minister. It would embarass Brown but also make the speaker look the utter fool that he is.

Malcolm Dunn's idea is excellent. I hope cameron adopts it.

Blogging from the Chamber isn't really on, in my view. I know I'm old-fashioned in this...

I can't yet argue this convincingly, but it just doesn't feel right... does it?

The NR line could backfire - are we seriously suggesting letting the fifth largest mortgage provider sink...

Cameron should take the initiative and call for the nationalisation of the bank - like we did with rolls royce. He has to show that he offers something different, otherwise - it just sounds like hot air to the public.

One that might bite Brown was that he ‘misled’ the House. He said that inflation was down from 1997, at 2.1%.
According to the lastest available figures from ONS, 4th quarter 2007 inflation was:
4.2% (all)
3.1% (minus mortgages)
3.0% (minus mortgages and indirect taxes)
2.5% (minus housing as well).
The ONS comparable figures for 2nd Quarter 1997 (what Labour inherited) they were:
Fairly clear, I'd say.

I wish the Conservatives would take issue when Darling/Brown blame Northern Rock'a management/business model for its downfall. As a banker, I know that the testing od Northern Rock's systems and business model would have been something the FSA would have worked on and the Rock would have been found out months ago. It was of course Brown who gave the FSA the authority and clearly this was flawed. This Is where the real responsilibity lies.

Also surely, someone must know
what the Government's exposure is
What the underlying security is worth on a break up basis
What the real risk to the Taxpayer is

This is something we as taxpayers are surely entitled to know!

Why does Cameron keep using the expression "you"? He did it all the way through his fifth question, it is very annoying and wrong. The Speaker did not even rebuke him, it is about time the Conservative Chief Whip went to see him and ask him to go and spend more time with his family.


Northern Rock IS going to be nationalised. All the talk about a private bidder is just spin from Brown and Darling. Nobody who might be interested can raise the funds to buy this crock of sh@t. The taxpayer is stuck with it and it will be like throwing money down a bottomless pit.

Second the editor. It got to the stage where Cameron would have been justified to attack the speaker. Brown didn't answer a single question.

Will the day Northern Rock is nationalized be the moment that the Labour party finally buries Tony Blair and reverts to type? A threatened animal returning to its core instincts?

Well it is PMQ Prime Ministers Questions, presumably that Scottish twat of a Speaker thinks Snotty is there to ask the questions.

Actually, it's not the speaker's job to get the PM to answer anything. That's up to DC.

"it's not the speaker's job "
But it is the Speakers job to rule the Prime Minister questions to David Cameron as being out of order. But in light of Speaker Martin verbally supporting Government legislation from the Chair, and the fact he should never have put himself up for the Speakers position in the first place, for following Betty Boothroyd the Speaker should have been selected from the Opposition benches, its no surprise he is ignoring all conventions of the House.

The only way for DC to stop it is to front up to Brown on. Does nobody recall when Howard said to Blair that if he wanted to ask the questions he was more than happy for Blair to stand down and swap sides.

What hay could Cameron make with a Prime Minister trying to bottle his questions just like he bottled the election and all the other big decisions as PM? Cameron should tell him it's not good enough to ask questions of him unless Brown's got an announcement to make which he's not going to bottle this time.

DC could try suggesting that Brown's inability to answer questions about numbers might be due to "confusion" or "problems with his memory" or "dropping a few balls because he's a bit too stretched in his new job". This might goad him into answering as failure to do so would look weak. Frankly, its utterly incredible that he wouldn't have the £55bn figure, or whatever it is, top of mind. He's just not good at thinking on his feet.

"The only way for DC to stop it is to front up to Brown on."

Trouble is he has to be careful he doesn't get to sound weak, in asking the Speaker if he should answer the question or other such responses makes he look as if he's asking permission. Perhaps he should just muscle Gordon Brown off the Despatch box, EG the next time Gordon Brown asks him a question he should answer it, point out that in light of Gordon Brown’s reluctance to answer any question, and Gordon Brown being clueless and always seeking to ask his opinion of issues, to short circuit matters he will from here on be happy to answer any question put to him at PMQ's, which should have both the Speaker and Gordon Brown scurrying to recover their authority in the House.

My preferred measure of inflation is the RPI which according to the ONS was running at 4% in the 12 months to December 2007 and not 2.1%
like the CPI.

I understand US CPI (like UK RPI but unlike UK CPI) includes an element for housing costs.

PMQs show in a nutshell the skewed state of British democracy. The Speaker who should knowledgeably and ruthless uphold precedent and procedure lapses time and again into partisan incompetence. The boundaries which should allow for a balanced, properly representative election instead favour the left. The courts which should merely administer now presume to bend the law. Universities are constantly pressure to set aside academic in favour of "social" criteria. A Prime Minister who promised a referendum on a treaty, signs it into law under a tawdry disguise. Our state broadcaster continuously connives at covering for our socialist government. We are not quite a police state, but we are by no means a real democracy and in such a state of affairs, extraordinary measures become necessary. Contesting the Speaker's seat is the least we could do.

I get the impression that Gordo the Ineffectual is setting the ground for an announcement soon, that the Bank of England will lose money; that not all its loans to Northern rock will be repaid.

Cameron has lost his way , Brown has sussed out how to deal with him, My colleagues and I watched in our office ( lunchtime ) we thought that Cameron sounded juvenile , he behaves like a spoilt child who cant get his own way .

We agreed 12 -2 that Brown was the winner today . I,ll post next weeks vote on this site .

His front bench do not help by sounding like a pack of bleating sheep !!


The Tories should have focussed on taking their gloves off with regards Labour a long time. The whole nation has paid the price.

"DC could try suggesting that Brown's inability to answer questions "

In thinking about it a bit more, when Brown asks Cameron a question next, Cameron should answer it, but ask no question himself and sit down. That would switch things around and leave Brown and the Speaker in a quandary of what to do next, if Brown then seeks to get up and say something, Cameron should intervene and say he asked no question all he was doing was answering the question put to him by Brown which the Speaker permitted.

"he behaves like a spoilt child who cant get his own way ."

Gezmond it wasn't from the Guardian or BBC's offices was it? For I don't see how you could come to that conclusion when Cameron asked Brown a very simple question of how much had Brown sunk into NR of Tax payers money, and how much would we get back. If there was any polit child about it it was that Brown refused to answer the simple question.

lain !5.09 Grow up , your comments are so childish ! This is supposed to be grown men debating not a kindergarden stand off !

Lain, your getting paranoid ! You cant say the BBC is supporting Labour , every news cast this week I have seen is having a go at the government.

We work for an import , export company our jobs depend on the economy and buisness has never been better. !

I find it disappointing that DC does not seem able to deal with what is effectively a filibuster; Blair started it and Brown is absolutely blatant in (a) not attempting to answer the question and (b) resorting to a party political. He even got his retaliation in first today in answer to a sycophantic first question.

One Labour MP did produce an embarrassing question about Blair's setting out his stall to become the first president of the EU, as provided by the "Constitution".

Brown swatted it away, referring only to Blair's work in the Middle East.

PMQs is a waste of taxpayers' money and the Speaker, Brown and Cameron are all to blame.
Cameron really must find a better way of dealing with Brown.

Our thanks to Baskerville at 12.59 for clarifying the state of play about inflation. Surely the tories have got advisers that can brief all MPs on this rather vital point. Cameron did not argue the toss with Brown today and he should have done so.

gezmond 007 I am happy to defend my position on the BBC, though this is the wrong forum to do it, but I note you have resorted to the personal attack which would suggest you hail from a particular part of the political spectrum, for that is their default position when asked to support their argument and they can't. So rather than the abuse ( a somewhat limited abuse I might add for it doesn't seem to go beyond calling people juvenile) perhaps you would care to answer my point of how could you call Cameron juvenile, spoilt child etc, when all he asked Gordon Brown to do was to tell us how much Tax payers money had he sunk into NR?

Hi Lain,

Sorry if I offended you this was not my intention , I am not from any political spectrum . I am fed up of politicians behaving like children , when DC was elected he said that there would be no more Punch and Judy politics .

That lasted about a month and since then he has got continually worse, aided and abetted by Mr Osbourne with his non stop bleating .

We want serious debate not point scoring ! All my colleagues have a similar view . Non are aligned to any party but just laugh at the way our so called leaders behave. I came to this site for topical discussion not a repeat of PMQ,s ! ( childish behaviour )

"I came to this site for topical discussion not a repeat of PMQ,s"

Well if you didn't then may be joining the discussion on the PMQ's blog is not the best thing to do, and you might find the discussion you are looking for in other areas of the site!

Surely Sir Menzies Campbell would make an excellent Speaker. Is this allowed - an LD as Speaker?

"Surely Sir Menzies Campbell would make an excellent Speaker"

Another Scot, another friend of Brown's? I don't think so!

Ed - just to clarify that, in your 3.15 round up, it should have been the Speaker who failed to call Nick Clegg.

Andrew Gimson in the telegraph blog is drawing a parallel between Gordon and Mr Eden, in that the area that was their strength and main claim to the top job is proving a huge problem once they moved into number 10. Foreign policy wrecked Eden's career and arguably his reputation, it would be ironic if Brown's career foundered on the fallout from the credit crunch.

Thanks David. I've made a correction!

the anti-scottishness of our party is alive and well i see, for shame.

A Scot if you think Lain is bad 16.07 then

Checkout Curbishley 13.58 I think it,s called racism !!

Has the Tory party changed ? I dont think so with comments like that !

"the anti-scottishness of our party is alive and well i see, for shame."

No just pointing out that as Scotland has its own Parliament, is own Executive, its own budget arrangement, its own Scottish Minister at Westminster, and its own Scottish Questions at Westminster, none of which English people have, that suggesting there should be better representation of English issues and preference given to English people in positions such as Speaker is perfectly reasonable.

Analyzing what is going on at PMQ's at the moment, which is only exacerbated by Mr. Martin's behaviour, one can only feel utter depression at what is happening to what was once the democratic forum of Parliament!

Mr. Brown, obviously has NO respect for Parliament at all - well I suppose he might have some respect for Parliament IN SCOTLAND, but he plainly does NOT respect either Parliament in England OR the parliamentary process. IF he did, he could not consent to have a cats paw of a Speaker - possbly one of the thickest Speakers that there have ever been, but that doesn't matter because he knows how to do his job (union-style) in the way that Mr. Brown wants it done. If anybody thinks that Mr. Speaker Martin could EVER be persuaded to relinquish his sinecure, they must be mad!

If anybody needed any more evidence that this prime minister just regards PMQ's as a tiresome formality, and that he has the same regard for the parliamentary process as a whole, then they should use their 'little grey cells' a little better!! It is all there to be seen.

"Brown responds by saying that home ownership has risen considerably under Labour."

Yes. By-to-let landlords now own ten times more properties than they did in 1997.

We work for an import , export company our jobs depend on the economy and buisness has never been better. !

Gezmond 007, I'm not surprised that importers are having a reasonable time. What do you export and where to?

"Mr. Brown, obviously has NO respect for Parliament at all "

This is because he cannot completely control it and therefore seeks to ignore or bypass it. Blair did this but insouciantly; Brown does it for a different reason. He is afraid. Hiding behind a verbal smokescreen, refusing to answer questions, angrily attacking the questioner instead - he's afraid.

Gezmond 007 -- sorry, I was being think (@18:10). I guess you work for International Exports Ltd, so say no more, I understand why business is good.

Surely Sir Menzies Campbell would make an excellent Speaker. Is this allowed - an LD as Speaker?
He was one of the candidates for speaker when Betty Boothroyd stood down, I think he might have got a bit slow now for the pace of the House of Commons. How about Nicholas Winterton instead? He's already presided over debates.

A few thoughts on today's 'surprising' fall in unemployment figures.

When the long-term unemployed are put onto the mandatory work option on the New Deal for a 13-26 week period they receive their P45 and officially are no longer unemployed, even though they are still in receipt of benefits plus an extra 15 pounds a week. If the numbers drafted onto the mandatory programme has increased, or the number of weeks on the programme has been increased it will artificially reduce the numbers of those officially unemployed.

Gordon Brown is desperate to keep interest rates as high as possible because he knows that any interest rate cut will weaken the pound and thus expose any underlying inflation in the system. Improved job figures would make the Bank of England less likely to cut interest rates.

It is entirely possible that today's fall in the official jobless figures may be due to a numerical increase in the number of those on the mandatory New Deal programme.

Liveblogging from the Chamber is definitely not on. MPs are there to pay attention and participate in debates not answer their correspondence, speak on the phone or blog. Douglas Carswell, whom I have admired for being honourable and outspoken, has just sunk in my estimation for being a self-important wastrel.

If the numbers drafted onto the mandatory programme has increased, or the number of weeks on the programme has been increased it will artificially reduce the numbers of those officially unemployed.
It does though have public spending implications though - more people on Sickness Benefits and programmes such as New Deal, and fewer on JSA or disqualified and because those benefit have much higher rates and in the case of New Deal expensive administrative costs, the higher welfare spending will be.

Sorry to be negative, but (despite good policy work behind scenes) I don't think we're gretting it quite right in PMQs. It seems like pretty tabloid issues are raised, and the place looks /sounds very rowdy. We could find Brown starts to get a bit of a sympathy vote - he doesn't sound confident but is developing some put downs

, or the LDs start saying look at all this P&J. Fortunately, they've decapitated themselves and are going nowhere - could actually be facing electoral meltdown if they fall below the probable tip over point of around 17%.

So some more statesmanlike points please.

Yet Another Anon, what you say is correct. The bizarre thing about the mandatory work-experience section of the New Deal is that people sign off the dole, end up on a placement, in effect disappear from the figures yet they are actually getting an extra 15 pounds on top of benefit plus any travel expenses which could mean an extra ten pounds, so benefit, plus 25 pounds, yet not on the dole, but not working. The New Deal is a scam to fiddle the unemployment figures. I would be surprised if more are now on the work-experience programme and that more are doing the 26 week rather than the 13 week stint. This would explain the fall in unemployment.

For those who werent watching out for Hain and how he was treated during PMQs, Hain edged well away from Harman and Brown when they appeared. I thought he was going to edge himself off the bench eventually. Neither Brown nor Harman looked in his direction and Hain looked thoroughly dejected while Brown was there. He sort of perked up when Cameron had finished his 6 questions but other than that it was clear hes not coming out of the doghouse for some time.

I think he knows hes out of frontline politics as soon as the investigations are complete.

Well done Iain and Mark Fulford for taking on and demolishing Gezmond 007 rather weak arguments. Is it not funny that that these Labour trolls, so annoyed at their leaders dismal performances at PMQs and the constant torrent of sleaze from almost everyone else in the Labour Party from Deputy Leader down, has to try and launch some sort of stealth attack on DC.

Any independent person would say that Cameron clearly bested Brown. Brown was evasive, was clearly angry and failed to rally his backbenchers to his side.

Anyone who has seen PMQs live over recent weeks will be struck by the lack of noise and support for Brown from his own side. There are even some Labour MPs who are saying it was never this bad under Blair. For a party who and lets be honest detested their Leader almost from the moment he was elected to be starting to say this shows just how bad Brown is.

I would further evidence this by referring Gezmond 007 to the fact that Calamity Clegg in just his second outing felt comfortable to go for Brown on the economy, although Brown did slap him down.

FYI…Iain there are a couple of other options for the offices that Gezmond 007 could work at, the Mirror or Labour Party HQ, although if either of these claimed to be international exporters I would be very surprised.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker