Today’s Prime Ministers Questions was an exhilarating experience, partially because David Cameron was on form, alive and effective at asking his questions. They were topical, fed the news cycle and kept the Labour benches almost silent. It was superb work from the future Prime Minister.
The other two main players, however, were pretty dreadful at their jobs. The Prime Minister failed to answer any question in any sense. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, did not do his job of ensuring the PMQ session held the Prime Minister, and therefore the government, to account. The PM was allowed to simply parrot party-political lines, and talk about the policies of the Conservative Party, with the full complicity of the Speaker.
As a result, I suspect that today, Gordon Brown twice misled the House of Commons, which is a serious and dangerous thing to do. In response to a question on defence spending, he told the House that Conservative plans at the last election would have cut defence spending by billions. In fact, spending was promised to rise by £1.77bn in that manifesto.
Second, he claimed not to know what a questioner was referring to, when he was asked about the slush fund allegedly formed by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer ‘back in the day’. The allegations, first made by Peter Watt in his book, have been widely repeated across all media, and it would beggar belief for the Prime Minister to not have been informed that a criminal breach of party funding and standards in public life breaches had been alleged.
Happily, I’m not the only one who noticed. Eric Pickles MP, the Chairman of the Conservative Party has written to the Prime Minister, and the letter is covered on Iain Dale’s Blog along with some nice analysis on Dizzy Thinks.