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Cameron Dorries exchange the most memorable moment of a quiet PMQs

7 September 2011

The first PMQs of the new parliamentary term was a bit of a damp squib. Ed Miliband avoided the issue of the economy, presumably because he feared being hit by a slew of quotes from the Darling book. So instead we had a series of fairly unenlightening exchanges on police commissioners and the NHS.

Labour has clearly chosen to try and attack the coalition from the right on law and order and security. There were a slew of questions from Labour backbenchers on whether the coalition’s anti-terrorism legislation was too soft.

But I suspect that this PMQs will be remembered for the Cameron Nadine Dorries exchange. Dorries, irritated by how Cameron withdrew support for her abortion amendment as soon as the Lib Dems started kicking off, asked the Prime Minister when he would tell ‘the deputy Prime Minister who is boss?’ Cameron replied ‘I know the honourable lady is extremely frustrated’ at which the House descended into puerile laughter. The double entendre appeared unintentional, Cameron seemed slightly taken aback by the House’s reaction at first, but having made it he should have tried to respectfully answer her question rather than just sitting down.

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Show comments
  • Fex Urbis

    The problem with Cameron is that he simply isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. He’s not bad at thinking on his feet with a sharp put down here and there but as a strategic thinker with a coherent battle plan he’s utter crap.

  • Magnolia

    There was a lot of subliminal stuff today.
    Nadine wore black.
    The PM kept jabbing his lectern with ‘the finger’ when he answered questions from the leader of the opposition.
    Ed Miliband kept pointing rudely at the PM as he made his non-points.
    Ed’s voice is deeper but otherwise there is not much improvement in his diction and the PM’s bald spot as well as the bags under his eyes have got bigger.
    Frustration was the correct word to use but the house chose to think otherwise.
    The really worrying bit was that pat on the shoulder.

  • TomTom

    Cameron is a sh@t and displays it whenever he tries his public schoolboy act with women in the House. This is not his first offence


    PS, for those who didn’t see PMQs, Guido has a video clip of the exchange at in which Cameron can be seen in his true colours.

  • Percy

    Dave came across as a bit of a tosser today.


    Here’s a rather more objective view of the exchange than anything we’re likely to get from the Cameron spinners masquerading as Spectator editors or journalists:

  • commentator

    She actually criticised Nick Clegg…..but then as he and Cameron are joined at the hip, I suppose it boils down to the same thing.

    As for your comment that she is a “single issue” MP, I am not surprised to find that you deride MPs of principle (think also Frank Field and Kate Hoey) rather than the careerists, charlatans and Vicars of Bray who can be relied on to do the whips’ bidding uncritically.

  • New Britannia

    “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Voltaire.

    Clearly Mr. V had not met Andy Carpark.

    As for the whole Dorries abortion thing; calm down. This is an irrelevant sideshow to the vitally important subject of NHS reform. Debate anyone?

  • Axstane

    Nadine Dorries is, unfortunately, a single issue MP and like all such commands no large support or popularity in the Commons. She shares the fate of such as Bill Cash, Nicholas Soames, David Lammy, Denis McShane and Dennis Skinner who can often manage to turn sentiment against them.

    Secondly, it should be recorded that Cameron did not attack Ms.Dorries, she attacked him.

  • Clear Memories

    I don’t think Millipedes operation has worked. Though there sounded evidence of voice coaching, he still spouted bollox every time he opened his mouth.

  • Tiggy

    Mr Cameron is a coward. Falls at the first fence. Pathetic.

  • Verity

    Ann Allen, above, has a point. The bully boys are rallying. Nadine Dorris can forget any preferment under this lame, malformed, inept, self-serving government.

  • Andrew Zalotocky

    Once again PMQs shows Parliament at its most juvenile and self-indulgent. Abortion is a serious issue and so is the question of how much power the deputy Prime Minister has or should have. If MPs can’t take these issues seriously there is no reason why we should take them seriously.

  • Mark Myword

    I did not see the exchange between Cameron and Dorries, but the question was rhetorical in nature and could not have been answered in a direct and informative way. It was a bit like the question ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ What was she expecting him to say? Given that the question was, in my opinion, a function of her frustration with Cameron’s view about her amendment, it did not seem unreasonable for him to answer with that in mind.

  • strapworld

    pharbitis well written. Cameron showed himself to be the true Dave Snooty,as mentioned above.

    There is an obvious distance between many conservative back benchers and Cameron and his reply to Ms Dorries and later, on Europe and a referendum, only helped to make this divide greater.

    What a chinless wonder!

  • Rhoda Klapp

    How glad you must be to have this daft punch and judy show back. It helps so to distract the populace from real problems which our politicians find so difficult.

    And yes, if the slimy bastard isn’t going to answer the questions, what the hell is he there for at all?

  • DavidDP

    “He has made an enemy of Nadine”

    Oh no. He must be terrified.

  • Tiberius

    James; have you now dispensed with the live blog?

  • lescam

    pharbitis is right. I don’t much care for Nadine Dorries either, but she is entitled to an answer to her question without being jeered at by ignorant, ill-mannered jerks who call themselves MPs. Cameron just showed his usual arrogance in ignoring the question and I personally don’t believe that using the word “frustrated” was accidental. No wonder women don’t want to go into politics, when they see this kind of behaviour. So what if the question was a bit daft, it still deserves an answer.

  • Tom Pride

    Disagree. Cameron took the best course of action . . .

    Hole – digging – stop.

    Chances are that anything he said further to extricate himself would have compounded the situation.

    He should apologise to her in private afterwards.

  • anne allan

    Putting aside the ‘Oooh, Matron’ angle, it was a rude and condescending way to treat a fellow MP, let alone from your own party.
    I sensed bully boys ganging up.

  • Hugh

    From what I am reading about this subject Clegg has a very strong emotional response to it, this seems funny to me. Does he throw staplers and mobile phones too??

  • Tron

    This is not funny. Nadine is right and Cameron could not answer because he knows she is right.
    He should slap them down or call an election which would send the jumped-up, yoghurt-knitting, Guardian readers to a well deserved oblivion.

  • Chris

    He shouldn’t be respectfully answering her question. He should be firing her. It’s an insult to parliament that she’s been allowed to get a safe seat.

  • Andy Carpark

    Either IDS is a noisy man or this whole sentence is false.

  • Russell

    Really James, how can the PM (The Boss of the UK) respectfully answer a ridiculous question.
    Nick Clegg knows who is his boss.

    At least Cameron has a sense of humour, something totally lacking amongst the Labour sourfaces and maybe even members of the press James.

  • pharbitis

    While I’m no fan of Nadine, I found it shocking how Cameron embarrassed her, made no attempt to give any answer, took part in the laughter and gave Clegg’s shoulder a squeeze.
    He has made an enemy of Nadine and in her position I would never, ever, forgive him.

  • commentator

    Cameron often lives up to his Dave Snooty billing from Private Eye. And for him, Llewellyn, Osborne, Maude, Boles, Hunt etc, Dorries will always be a jumped-up oik from a Liverpool council house. Not Quite Our Class Dear.

  • Hangmansknotinn

    Are the Lib Dems actually doing anybody a favour at the moment? They’re even more of a joke than the previous Labour government, which takes some doing.

  • Cottage Pie

    Carry on Cameron.Ooh Matron!!

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