Ed Miliband has not had a good start to the year. He returned to the dispatch box for PMQs last Wednesday looking to put the previous year behind him. His supporters may well point to his successes, such as fathering the Oxford Dictionary Word Of The Year, but 2011 was definitely not the year of the Ed (Miliband, that is). Some say that PMQs is unimportant, and in many ways it is. When it comes to party morale though, it can play a significant role. Miliband will have stepped up to the dispatch box with memories of the last time he was there; when David Cameron played conductor to government benches prompting them into a raucous outburst as he put Miliband in his place and summed up the year for the Labour leader. Click here to keep reading
Some might argue that Prime Minister’s Questions on 13 July 2011 were a textbook example of what PMQs should be: a raucous chamber, a contentious issue and two party leaders hissing at one another. The reality, though, was a rather more disappointing sequences of questions which – while certainly exciting the house and leaving Speaker John Bercow rather flustered – did little to illuminate any substantive policy differences. Click here to keep reading
Ed Miliband may still have some distance to go to convince anyone that he’s capable of delivering a Parliamentary majority, but it already looks as if he’s travelled a respectable distance from his previous Commons disasters.
The focus of this week’s PMQs was the News of the World ‘phone hacking’ scandal, and the result was a strangely subdued exchange between the two major party leaders – at least at first. How, after all, can you try and generate political capital from the hacking of a murder victim’s phone? Click here to keep reading
During Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader, Ed Miliband continued his tactic of asking detailed policy questions in an attempt to wrong foot his rival and gain greater leverage for the Labour narrative that the Prime minister is incompetent. Sensing an opportunity, David Cameron neglected to answer the question as there were, you see, more pressing issues. Apparently, he was only too eager to bring up the strikes that did, despite the government’s greatest endeavours, take place on Thursday. This, of course, had nothing at all to do with his inability to answer the detailed question. Instead, the Prime Minister leapt up with glee, before declaring, “What the whole country will have noticed is that at a time when the whole country is worried about strikes, he can’t ask about strikes because he’s in the pocket of the unions”. And there it was; Cameron’s mishandling of an issue, he himself stated was of supreme importance, had conformed spectacularly to Labour’s characterisation of the PM as incompetent. Yet, in order to save himself from ignominy, Mr. Cameron managed to wheel out the age-old Tory line on Labour, and one given extra credence by Mr. Miliband’s fragile leadership.