Today’s PMQs should have been a tricky one for David Cameron. Ed Miliband had the ratings downgrade with which to attack the Prime Minister. But Cameron sailed through the questions about the loss of the triple A rating. Following George Osborne’s lead from Monday, he mocked Labour for its ‘policy to address excessive borrowing by borrowing more.’ This failure to capitalise on the undoubted embarrassment for the government of the credit downgrade should worry Labour.
But I suspect that the Labour leader’s office is currently trying to soothe brows at the New Statesman after Miliband announced that quoting it ‘was scrapping the barrel.’ As Cameron gleefully pointed out, that was a bit rich given that the New Statesman was ‘the only newspaper that endorsed his leadership bid’. (For the sake of accuracy, I should point out that The People also backed Ed Miliband as did a couple of regionals.)
The rest of PMQs was dominated by a set of coordinated Labour backbench questions on the so-called ‘bedroom tax’, which isn’t actually a tax — a point that these MPs are unable or unwilling to grasp. There was also a very interesting question from Charlotte Leslie on the NHS and whether Labour suppressed reports about what was going wrong in it. Cameron’s answer suggested he might be beginning to move away from his position of simply absolving the last government and NHS management for all blame about Mid Staffs.