Hello one and all and welcome to the first of Back of the Cabinet’s first coverage of PMQ’s!
Using an unnecessary array of mixed sporting metaphors we shall make the things that matter interesting!
It was a beautiful day for a game over dramatised paper waving and our Oxbridge educated representatives did their PPE degrees proud!
This PMQ’s come off the back of a turbulent week for the Conservatives. The biggest team in Westminster was thwarted in their attempts to score an absolute screamer with their Working Tax Credits. Just when they were through on goal they were tackled at the last minute by the House of Lords.
This unelected body with seats for life is politics equivalent of FIFA but with less comfortable chairs.
It was against this back drop that we kicked off.
Cameron v Corbyn
Nothing quite hinders a bloggers plan to do a question by question break down more than the leader of the opposition asking the same question six times.
As they squared up it was clear that the Labour kit man had spent more time with Mr Corbyn than last week. His tie was now on the right way round and hardcore lefties must be wondering if this represents a dangerous move towards free market capitalism.
The leader of the opposition went on to ask the question “Can you guarantee that no one will be worse off next year as a result of working tax credit cuts?”
This was repeated in different guises 6 times with PM falling back on the “mess left to us” line. He did however start using a new line that it is fair to say he will keep using (providing the focus group says it’s ok) ‘Deficit Denial!’
Man of the Match! Angus Robertson SNP
Just like modern day football, modern politics faces a lot of critics.
“There is too much money in it”
“The working class can’t afford to get involved”
“They keep attending orgies”
Do not fear! There is still hope and it comes in the form of a London born Scottish Nationalist. The SNP’s Angus Robertson has won the BotC Man of the Match award.
He doggedly pursued the Prime Minister to publish a report into suicides caused by benefit cuts after the Department for Work and Pensions had refused.
He got double credit here for managing to turn the knife by relating it to Working Tax Credits and also making Iain Duncan Smith look as uncomfortable as he has since he tried to lead the Tories.
This is the sort of determination one would expect and admire in an MP who successfully appealed when his expense claim for a £400 home cinema system was initially rejected.
Training Ground Routine Award
Nothing is more pleasing to a coach than when things practiced on the training ground work out. In politics this is in the form of a placed question. A great chance for MP’s to ask their gaffer a question that he/she wants to answer.
Graham Evans a Conservative MP is today’s winner. He managed to both be teacher’s pet and class clown by asking a kiss arse question while impersonating Mr Corbyn. What a joker! It is important to have these kind of players in your squad to keep everyone’s morale up with their rule abiding quips.
Here is the question in all it’s banter filled glory: “(A constituent) emailed me to tell me not to listen to the Leader of the Opposition with his strategy of higher spending, higher borrowing and more debt, but instead to stick to our long-term economic plan for a higher-wage, lower-welfare and low-tax society. Does the Prime Minister agree with John from Weaver Vale?”
The fact his constituent emailed him in language straight the Conservative vocal guidelines was very lucky!
Things you rarely see in the modern game
A Liberal Democrat was not only spotted during the match but also asked a question! Now as rare in the modern game as a crunching slide tackle going unpunished this Lesser Spotted Lib Dem was the Party Leader Tim Farron.
He talked about his recent trip to a refugee camp in Greece and asked the government to do more. The PM responded by saying he was delighted to see so many of his party there (they only have 8 MPs). This did at least break George Osbourne out of his dumped school boy routine for a second.
David Cameron- 5/10
Did his best not to answer the same question 6 times. Curiously decided to brag about the fact that his cabinet was 33% female. Having ‘almost equality’ not really a gold star Dave.
Jeremy Corbyn- 6.5/10
Strongest performance so far but hard not to do well after the week the Tories have had. Lots of body blows but no knock out punch.