It was striking that at today’s liaison committee session the Treasury Select Committee chairman chose not to ask the Prime Minister about the economy but the secret courts bill. In what were the tensest exchanges of the 90 minutes, Tyrie questioned whether secret courts were necessary while Cameron asked Tyrie to think what he would do in his position. Cameron kept stressing that the government was not making any existing proceedings secret but trying to find a way to have cases heard that can’t be at the moment.
Tyrie’s vocal opposition, though, is further evidence that this bill isn’t out of the woods yet. Given that the terms of it were essentially thrashed out between Cameron and Clegg, I’d be surprised if Lib Dem MPs turned against it. But Tyrie’s questions today are a reminder that there are a fair few Tory rebels on the issue too. (Ironically, Tyrie is a former special adviser to Ken Clarke, the minister who is charged with piloting the legislation through parliament)
One other thing worth noting from today was Cameron’s words of support for Nick Boles, the planning minister. Cameron insisted that Boles was right that houses are going to have be built on some greenfield sites if this country is going to deal with its housing crisis.