« Cameron makes fresh demands of Conservative MPs on who they employ and for how much | Main | Grayling up and McLoughlin down in latest ratings of shadow cabinet »


Very strong attacks by Cameron today. Brown has reverted to asking questions instead of answering them.

My forecast is:

Brown ok (less stuttering fist shaking etc.)
Cameron better than Brown but no knock outs. Sound bit on the news tonight to look good.

Clegg - who?

Cameron's jokes were very ill-judged. Gave Brown a free hit.

'Cameron's jokes were very ill-judged. Gave Brown a free hit.'

Missed the ball by quite a way then.

I never noticed before that Brown is incapable of pronouncing "surveillance". It seems to come out as "surveyance". A good day for Cameron I'd say.

Did anyone else notice how furious little Ed Milliband was looking when Dave was laying into his boss? Seemed to be taking it all rather personally...

Brown can give it but he can't take it.

I have my suspicions about Ann Cryer's question - was she trying to neutralise it. Did you note how Gordon stuttered when it came up later?
Camrron has established he is a ditherer and is now trying to demonstrate how paralysising it is on an everyday basis.

I thought he did very well today. He took an everyday issue, PM wasn't prepared and can't react on his feet.
Harman and Alexander knew it was hurting. They looked pained.

You know it went well when the best that Gordon's supporters can say is that he was nasty.
They would love their man to be capable ot inflicting the pain.

The BBC quote Mr Brown as "defend[ing] the setting up of reviews, saying that there were so many because his government were to make the changes the UK needed for the long-term.

Mr France
What have they been doing the last ten years?
Making problems they now have to decide how to deal with.

Nick Assinder (I thought he was losing his job in the cuts?) described it as Dither vs Blather

Gordon Brown claims to have created three million jobs! Why wasn't he challenged on this? Even though it would have meant straying of-topic for a moment. According to Gordon Brown in a 2004 speech:

"When Labour came to office in 1997, unemployment across the U.K. was close to 2 million"

So if three million jobs have been created how come there are still 1.6 million people claiming JSA?

The maths don't add up prime minister?

Surely someone in the Labour Govt has the courage to tell Brown to stop asking Cameron questions? He is making a fool of himself. He must be the worst Prime Minister of all time. He completely lacks any ability in terms of thinking on his feet...for instance on a specific question on A levels - 'let me tell him about the Governments record...etc'

And why is Michael Martin so utterly, bloody useless ?

Brown lied about Boris Johnson last week, why hasn't Gorbals summoned his Scottish mate for an apology?

PMQ's are becoming a farce.

The Speaker needs to be sacked, as his blatant failure to make the PM respond to opposition questions is gross mismanagement.

Indeed the man is tainted with financial scandal and has brought the position into disrepute. He must go.

Tony Makara @ 13.51

Presumably the labour force has grown by 2.6 million.

I wonder if one way to try to put a stop to Brown's habit of asking questions of DC is for one of our Parliamentary experts (e.g. Sir Patrick Cormack) or instantly recognisable figures (e.g. Boris Johnson) to raise a Point of Order at the beginning of the session. Having done so, he could use this to remind the Speaker that this is the weekly occasion where the PM must answer questions, not ask them, and that it is the Speaker's duty to enforce this. (Two birds with one stone - flag up Gorbals Mick's inadequacies at the same time.)

Why doesn't Cameron point out to Mr Speaker that this is Prime Minister's Questions, not Opposition Leader's Questions?

Cameron really needs to slap Brown down for asking questions in PMQs, for the Speaker is clearly not going to do his job. I am surprised he didn't do it in the session for he had the perfect vehicle having set the scene as Brown the dither. He could have quite easily developed his theme and responded to one of Brown's questions to him by suggesting that Brown is so clueless he doesn't only have to set up reviews to tell him what to do, he needs the opposition to tell him what to do as well, and ask Brown why did he become PM when he has no answers to anything.

I think ConservativeHome should be done with it and just refer to 'Leader of The Opposition's Question Time' from now on.
Cameron does support education to 18. It is the element of compulsion that we're worried about. It would also be a laudable ambition to provide everyone with a good education by the time they are 16 rather than the status quo under Labour. I can hear it now 'Under the last government...'.
Well the last government was the one lead by call-it-Anthony Blair as were the 2 govts before that, during which the UK became one of the worst places in the 'western' world to grow up.

The most disappointing thing about PMQs is the number of spoon-fed soft questions that Brown gets from his backbenchers. It isn't very often that anyone gets to question a prime minister and its tragic to see so much of PMQs wasted on this flattering dross. Isn't there one Labour backbencher with the bottle to ask Gordon Brown a challenging question? The Labour benches have turned into a gallery of toads all croaking to the same tune. Whatever happened to the spirit of Eric Heffer?

I don't watch PMQs any more. It's all politics and nothing that matters.

The right response from Cameron would be "Every week it becomes clearer why this exchange is called Prime Minister's Questions and not Prime Minister's Answers"

Fraser Nelson on Spectator Coffee House is absolutely scathing about Brown's abject performance today.
Mike Smithson at Political Betting wonders if Brown will try and get rid of PMQ's as they are obviously such a nightmare for him.

Hansard - 3 Dec 2003 : Column 497

Mr. Howard: Let me remind the Prime Minister that it is my duty to ask questions on behalf of the country and his to answer questions on behalf of the Government. If he wants to swap places with me, I am happy to do that today, tomorrow, next week, next month—any time he likes. However, for the moment, it is his duty to answer the questions. He did not answer the first question, so let us try again.

"Did anyone else notice how furious little Ed Milliband was looking when Dave was laying into his boss? Seemed to be taking it all rather personally..."

I thought this was the most compelling image throughout the exchanges. The man looked haunted with big fishy eyes staring into space. he was a disaster as a support for Brown. At one point Jaqui Smith whispered something to Milliband and I wondered if she was relaying a message from the Spin Doctors (they must monitor this) for him to lighten up. Agree with comments about Brown doing the questioning - but maybe Cameron is just letting him flounder, Knowing it looks bad.

Cameron doesn't want to say 'don't ask me questions'. It negates the impact of his attack. He wants to look like a man who is not afraid of questions - in contrast.....

"Cameron doesn't want to say 'don't ask me questions'. "

No he needs to say Brown is so clueless he has to ask the opposition for answers.

I'm a bit disappointed that Cameron could not smack down the compulsory 18 issue.

Brown said that he wants to give children the RIGHT to go to school until 18. Unless I'm mistaken, children already have the right to do so. If you need three Cs at GCSE level to do so, so be it. Why couldn't Cameron kick out this insane claim that children who want to go to school cannot?

Phil Whittington at 15.51 suggests the ideal answer. Let Cameron merely say exactly what Michael Howard was quoted as saying at PMQs in Hansard on 3 December 2003.

PMQ's are not a farce . They are ritualised but there is core sense in the ritual .
They are an opportunity to question the ruler ,exposed and devoid of his usual institutional protection,directly on behalf of the people .

( I spoke to an Egyptian recently who just dreamed of being able to confront Hosni Mubarak on as similar weekly basis - the Egyptian quasi dictatorship makes sure that this NEVER happens )

Always stress this point and always recruit the people to your cause . In every question . If the PM tries to turn the session into a yah boo session tackle him on this and interrogate him as to why he is treating the public with such contempt and why he is avoiding his duty to answer questions
Why not fling in also to the exchange that
"the Conservatives are making a commitment to bring back PMQ's twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays ,so deviously and undemocratically abolished by your predecessor . Unlike you Mr PM we intend to keep the people informed as to what is going on and are not scared of PMQs . "

etc etc

"It is insolent of the PM to dodge the answers . Would he please show some respect for the people of this country and at least --

PMQs should return to twice weekly as it always was. It was typical of Blair to reduce the time available to be questioned by MPs on the public's behalf. He was a dodger and weaver and Brown is carrying on in his manner. Blair would rather answer questions from friendly journalists than those who had a right to question him under House of Common's rules ie he could be held to account if he lied in the Commons. - not so to a cosy pack of journalists. Show the public that the Conservatives have no such reluctance to being held to account and commit to twice weekly PMQs now. Dare Brown to present himself for questions twice per week and promise that the next Tory government has no hesitation in doing so.

I gave up on these great political thinkers when I came across Rob at 12:18:
I never noticed before that Brown is incapable of pronouncing "surveillance". It seems to come out as "surveyance". A good day for Cameron I'd say.

Try the Oxford English Dictionary, Su-Sz, page 248, Rob at 12:18. You are in for a learning experience.

I think that about sums it up for any chances of the present Tory Party beyond the alcopops suburban set.

Almost totally agree with Jake (19.27). Just a little niggle: Hosni Mubarak as President of Egypt is that country's Ruler and Head of State. Despite what Tony Blair thought, our Ruler is H. M. The Queen; Brown is merely her Prime Minister.
Agree also with Janet (19.50). The move from PMQs twice weekly was just another of Blair's insults towards the House of Commons.
Good to hear Lord Tebbit on BBC2 point to George Thomas as an excellent Speaker - Mick may have to mend his ways; the media have begun to focus on him.

"It was typical of Blair to reduce the time available to be questioned by MPs on the public's behalf"

It was two 15 minute sessions, instead of one half hour one.

A little bit pedantic Dave 21:15, Blair reduced the opportunity to be questioned from twice a week to once a week. 'Events happen' in politics and twice per week is better to question the PM about any occuring events than to have to wait a full week

"When Labour came to office in 1997, unemployment across the U.K. was close to 2 million"

So if three million jobs have been created how come there are still 1.6 million people claiming JSA?
Bigger working age population, there aren't 1.6 million claiming JSA, it's down around 800,000 in terms of the claimant count, of course people on various training grants and numbers of universty students has grown a lot since 1997 - it;s difficult to compare figures 10 years apart at any time since the 1930s because of how many changes there have beeinthe labour force, school leaving age, Student Finance, benefit rules, definitions of claimants - the pace of change in such things merely accelerated after 1979.

'Events happen' in politics and twice per week is better to question the PM about any occuring events than to have to wait a full week
Then again, half an hour does give more time to press home an attack on the PM and drag something out of them, maybe though some kind of session including the press as well as MPs would provide beter depth of questioning.

Yet Another Anon, you can't go off the official figures. How about factoring all those on the New Deal who get drafted onto 'Work Expereience' programmes for 13-26 week periods. Once on these programmes the unemployed receive their P45, do not need to sign on, and disappear from the official figures, even though they are just as unemployed as they ever were. The government can conjure a fall in unemployment just by drafting extra numbers of JSA claimants onto work experience programmes. This explains the frequent stage-managed falls in unemployment that appear by magic whenever the government is going through a rough time. This is a government that operates by slight-of-hand, their official statistics on unemployment, inflation etc cannot be trusted.

Yet Another Anon, by your estimates what do you consider the actual level of unemployment to be?

Cameron Weak and pathetic ! . Ordinary People not the people on this site who think that Cameron can do no wrong, are getting fed up with David Cameron acting like a street yob , no respect, shouting insults and being downright rude!

Carry on playing to your mates Mr Cameron you are doing more harm to yourself than you know!

( no more Punch and Judy politics ) Just playground bullying !

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