Wednesday, 21 July 2010

PMQs Summary

Cross-posted from Calling England. For those interested the videos of today's PMQs will be posted at Calling England shortly.


The faces and names at the Despatch Box may have changed this week but the tribute to our Armed Forces has not.

Marine Jonathan Crookes, 40 Commando Royal Marines
Senior Aircraftman Kinikki (Griff) Griffiths, RAF Regiment
Sgt David Monkhouse, Royal Dragoon Guards
Staff Sgt Brett Linley, 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rgt, Royal Logistic Corps

It was all a bit of a mess this week. Clegg and Straw faced each other and Straw reminded me of an old ham actor, patently past his best but offered one last chance to grab the limelight. He milked it for all it was worth and, to my mind, didn't come out of it too well, having to look to the prompt box for his lines and still fumbling and stumbling his way through. He mistook shouting and finger-pointing as a substitute for asking strong questions

Clegg stuck to coalition policy lines - blame the previous government, mention Mandelson, Liam Byrne, talk about the structural deficit. I know they've only been in office for nine or ten weeks but I'm becoming tired of hearing them spout the same old lines of defence - just like Labour Ministers used to do.

The first question, from Ian Mearns, Lab, Gateshead, concerned the cutting of the Building Schools for the Future programme at the cost of five schools in his area . Osborne's face at Mearns' mention of LibDem councillors 'fearing losing their seats' was a perfect picture of pained disdain.

David Burrowes, Con, Enfield Southgate, asked the second question which concerned the extradition of Gary McKinnon. Clegg reported that the PM had had discussions with Obama and 'that notwithstanding the gravity of the alleged crime they hoped to find a way forward'.

Then it was time for Straw: his presence raised cheers and laughter from all sides of the House. He first asked about the the Kabul Conference & the timetable for withdrawal of our AF from Afghanistan and the remainder of his questions related to the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, which for some reason initially elicited groans. The long-winded and shouting Straw really pushed and prolonged his questions and managed to also mention marriage tax breaks and Lord Ashcroft.

If nothing else, do watch the first ten/fifteen minutes of the exchange and see how many times both Clegg and Straw are self-referential and Bercow feels he has to intervene, in fact I heard his voice as often as I heard any other. He almost denied Straw his 6th question too, which only added to the sense of confusion.

Questions asked by backbenchers included:

Civil liberties; Big Society; Sheltered Housing; the raising of VAT; the decline in social mobility; Disability Living Allowance; Crown Dependencies & Overseas Territories; investment in Sedgefield; detention of children (immigration); Afghanistan; funding to rural areas.

Is your MP here?

Claire Perry, Con, Devizes; Ian Lavery, Lab, Wansbeck; Margot James; Con, Stourbridge; Elfyn Llwyd, Plaid Westminster Leader; Phillip Lee, Con, Bracknell; Kate Green, Lab, Stretford & Urmston; Andrew Rosindell, Con, Romford; Phil Wilson, Lab, Sedgefield; Julian Huppert, LibDem, Cambridge; Jeremy Corbyn, Lab, Islington North; JesseNorman, Con, Hereford & South Herefordshire.

You only need to look at the comparatively short list of backbenchers who had time to ask questions this week to realise how long the Clegg/Straw exchange lasted.

Videos to follow.


Billy Blofeld said...

PMQ's was odd today.

Straw was a total gibbering mess and I thought it was a bit odd that Bercow called him a "Noble Lord".

However, I thought it even odder that a member of Her Majesties government stood at the dispatch box and called the Iraq war illegal.

subrosa said...

I missed it Billy so your remark is interesting. I'll see it on Goodnight Vienna's blog when she puts up the videos.

RMcGeddon said...

It was fun seeing Straw taken apart by Cleggie. Who would have thought the cunning old fox would go from 'Statesman' to hoarse and screaming Labour toady after 10 minutes. Bercow did his best to prop up the Strawman but to no effect.
I'm not surprised that BBCNews24 have stopped covering the whole of PMQ's. Is just too embarrassing and sad for the lefties to watch.

subrosa said...

Going to watch it shortly RM.

William said...

Taped PMQs and have only now watched it. Straw was awful!! Bercow was almost as bad. Thought Clegg was OK--kept reminding Labour that it was their Govt which had caused the mess. Labour MPs didn't like that---tough, it's the truth.

William Brown

cynicalHighlander said...

Oh dear a man clutching at straws got bitten by a clegg, time of year for em pesky nippers.

subrosa said...

I just watched it myself William and admit, of the two, Straw was by far the worse. What a sad end to his career to be standing there looking so pathetic.

He even made Clegg look good and he wasn't much better.

subrosa said...

I suggest Jungle Juice CH. :)

RMcGeddon said...

Yes it was a sad sight. The old fox made a fatal error in trying to tie Cleggie down over what he had said and when at Forgemasters. It just reminded everyone of how fatally holed he is below the waterline himself over the lies about Iraq and the rendition and torture of British citizens. The fact that he adopted his approach at PMQ's shows how deluded he really is and has no idea of his failings.

subrosa said...

Of course he's no idea RM because the labour faithful fete him as someone of stature etc. Deluded man. Poor soul really but a very wealthy one.

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