Coffee House

David Cameron sails through what should have been a difficult PMQs

27 February 2013

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.

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  • Terence Hale

    David Cameron sails through what should have been a difficult PMQs. Yes indeed an impressive performance. What was disturbing and of concern was Mr. Miliband non response to Mr. Cameron’s remarks on the Eastleigh by-election labour candidate, indicative of a “Schuft”

  • Mark Smith

    Labour are not “stuck” with the blame for the economic mes. Most people of any intelligence know it was the bankers and their rich friends in the city who caused the financial crisis. Retelling Tory lies and spin is typical of those defending the indefensible.

  • Mark Smith

    This Government has not introduced the Bedroom Tax because it is concerned about the huge number of families on the waiting list. It knows full well that there are nowhere near enough smaller properties for people to downsize to. Nor is this Government concerned about overcrowding because the Bedroom Tax makes overcrowding mandatory forcing children under 16 to share bedrooms (the size of which the Government refuses to define). The Bedroom Tax is a Benefit cut, pure and simple, introduced to ” improve work-incentives for working age claimants” i.e. starve the poor into work. Presumably IDS calculated that slashing Jobseekers Allowance or Income Support (which would have impoverished people in exactly the same way as the Bedroom Tax will) would have been a step to far (even for him).

  • The Dope Smokes Pope

    Cameron kept on getting whacked with the bedroom tax. What crackhead in the Tory party thought taxing people with a spare bedroom was a spliffing idea. Labour are going to keep whacking the Tories till they all fall down. The public will turn on Cameron if the bedroom tax is repeatedly mentioned at PMQs again and again.

  • David Lindsay

    Cameron said how proud he was that food banks were going to be advertised in Job Centres.

    Read that over until it sinks in.

    • realfish


      The Labour government would not allow Jobcentre Plus staff to let crisis loan applicants know the location of local food banks.

      One of the first things that IDS did was to stop that nonsense in its tracks

  • Geo Shepherd

    David Cameron – talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk – gone in 2015

    Ed Miliband – getting better but basically the wrong brother – gone in 2015

    Clegg – cover up – whitewash – gone before 2015

  • Daniel Maris

    “Cameron SAILED though today’s PMQs”

    Just because your ice cream’s smooth doesn’t mean its nutritious.

  • Smithersjones2013

    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.

    Too bloody right too! It’s an outrage that politicians and bureaucrats (potentially criminal) negligence should be whitewashed in such a manner. Hundreds if not thousands of British citizens have died. Can anyone name another case where British Government services have been potentially responsible for the deaths of so many British citizens in peacetime?

  • Gawain

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry ! The twits in no.s 10 & 11 Downing Street seem to think that they’re doing a good job and that it is acceptable to delegate economic policy to the rating agencies who were rating all sorts of junk as investment grade just before the crash. The alternative is an Opposition that has learnt nothing from this crisis and is in complete denial about it’s mistakes in government. No wonder comedians are doing so well in elections.

  • Mynydd

    Mr Cameron’s defination of tax was, when you recieve income and the government take some of it then that’s a tax, so if you recieve an income, even from benefits, and the government take some of it then it’s a tax, in this case a bedroom tax.

    • Thatcherite Lee

      Income by definition is EARNED through work.

      money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments

    • Russell

      If you receive money from other taxpayers pockets, it is a benefit, not earned income, not your money, so a reduction of how much of other peoples money you get cannot be regarded as tax, unless you reside in ‘world of Labour’ where lies spin and smear are regarded as normal. McBride was in good company with Brown, Balls, Miliband and the rest of scum that inhabit the labour party.

  • Russell

    Unbelievable! Liam Byrne just said in the housing benefit under occupancy debate the government will be forcing people to pay more for their unoccupied bedrooms in social (subsidised) houses……..
    Perhaps he should have more honestly said taxpayers will not have to pay people as much benefit if they live in houses with unoccupied bedrooms, instead of calling this measure ‘cruel’, and reminded people that it was labour who introduced this scheme to occupants of private housing.
    I absolutely detest everything about labour and their lying, smearing, spinning, hypocritical MP’s and supporters.

    • Bill Brinsmead

      Liam Byrne’s dissembling – except for saying there is no more money – makes him a disgrace to public life.

  • @PhilKean1

    Cameron SAILED though today’s PMQs

    – which may well have enhanced his election chances among the 0.001% of the population who watch it.

    In the real world, however, David Cameron’s Party has a little over 2 years left in Government.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Don’t sound too pleased about that. The alternative is going to be much, much worse for the reasons sagely noted by Russell. If ever a party deserved bringing down and destroying, piece by piece, with their reputation trashed, it is Labour not the Conservatives, the real “Nasty Party” in Britain.

      • huktra

        Ah my child.
        You do live in fairyland.

        • Span Ows

          …so does your odd reply mean you think the alternative WON’T be much worse? Or does it mean you think that the Labour party do NOT deserve to be brought down?

          • huktra

            We all deserve our fate.
            We have been bad and we get Labour.
            To think otherwise is fairyland.

    • William Thomas

      There is a lot in what you say but what astounds me is the way the Great British Voter appears to have completely forgotten the chaos that was wrought by Brown and Balls (and little Ed Miliband) as well as the Lies of Blair.

      • realfish

        Or as the BBC announcer might say, ‘You are getting sleepier and sleepier…when you wake up you will find that 1997 – 2010 never happened…you are waking up now…5..4..3..2..’

    • Tom Tom

      Not 2. This “government” will probably collapse within 10 months

  • Thatcherite Lee

    Oh Isabel, it’s ‘scraping’ not ‘scrapping’

  • Chris lancashire

    Labour’s economic policy becomes more and more untenable. Firmly stuck (rightly) with the blame for the economic mess they continue to compound their problem by insisting on borrowing more to get us out of a debt problem and opposing any and every cut made by the Coalition. Keep on digging Balls!

    • Russell

      I’m still waiting for someone in this government to point out that between the years 1997 and 2010, labour governments:
      The least number of houses (private and social) were built.
      The UK were taken into an illegal war.
      MP’s expenses frauds were commited.
      The police were selling information to newspapers.
      The phone hacking took place.
      The NHS killed thousands of patients.
      The banks failed.
      Senior ‘executives’ in both the private and public sector received obscene pay increases/bonuses/pensions.
      Useless PFI contracts were signed up to by incompetent Ministers.
      The BBC covered up Saville.
      Child services were responsible for the death of Baby P and many others.
      The Education system dropped down the International league tables.

      The list is too long to write here, but surely someone in government can make an effort to humiliate and bring into disgrace, the Labour party, many of whose MP’s were Ministers in government.
      Somehow, the IQ2’s who keep voting labour need to have facts like these drilled into them if this country is to be saved.

      • Chris lancashire

        Whilst I agree with your general drift there are a few points on your list I wouldn’t blame on Labour – such as the BBC-Saville mess – simply because I believe it wasn’t, and isn’t, the business of that or any government to stick its nose into every corner of public and private life. Fiscal policy is definitely government business; I’m not entirely sure phone hacking is.

        • Russell

          Fair point, but you are right, I was painting a general picture with the examples I used.
          Many things happening since 2010 are as a direct result of labour incompetence during those years by their actions or there failure to do things like getting nuclear power stations built securing UK energy supply or our airport strategy sorted and alternatives built and a whole lot more things they didn’t do over 13 years which this government is trying to address, with labour complaining that they haven’t sorted these things out in 3 years!!!! ,

      • Makroon

        Yes, me too.
        I console myself with the thought that they are saving all this for a no-holds-barred reelection campaign, but it is far more probable that the Tory hierarchy have also half forgotten Labour’s awful record, and will appoint Letwin as election supremo. God help us.

      • Mynydd

        “The UK were taken into an illegal war” The UK Parliament voted for war, it might have been the wrong decision, but it cannot be illegal. If parliament had voted against and the government went ahead, then thats another thing. In fact more Labour MP’s voted against the war than MPs from the Conservative and LibDen parties combined.
        I would also point out that by your logic every criminal act should laid at the government door, so what about the London riots, Mr Cameron’s fault or not.

        • Tom Tom

          Yes it can be “illegal” just as Keitel was executed at Nuremberg. The UN Charter Art 2, Art 33, Art 39 and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the ICC and the Nuremberg Trials defined what is meant by “illegal” war. It is not for the House of Commons to determine just as it was not for the German Reichstag to determine in 1939.

      • Sguest

        Despite your excellent comment you didn’t mention what I regard as the biggest betrayal ever of the indigenous population of the British Isles, namely the unfettered immigration of Asian people of an alien religion, probably because they are likely to support Labour. A betrayal from which the country will suffer increasingly and from which it is never likely to recover.

        • Russell

          Indeed, one of the biggest crimes labour have committed against the entire population of this country and it is linked to the other matter of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU which not only we pay into £20billion per year (£10billion net after they give us some of our money back) as well as millions of EU immigrants and welfare claimants, costing us a fortune in education, NHS, translators, Legal cases etc.
          The EU are just like the Socialists, they take our money and give us back some whilst setting up layers of bureaucracy costing the hardest working people who automatically have tax and NIC deducted with no way of avoiding tax/NIC like the richest and frequently giving their family and friends the top jobs on obscene salaries/bonuses/pensions.

      • 2trueblue

        You know it, I know it, we all know it, but we have the BBC where no one there knows any of this, is in total denial of the facts, denies any bias, nor do they report it, so a lot of people in this country do not know it and care less.
        So we rumble on in a country that is in the end controlled by the left, no matter who is in parliament. The civil service is in fact still run by Liebore so nothing will change, it is like a disease that has no cure.

    • DWWolds

      What policy?

    • huktra

      Sadly Cameron fuels their optomism by his incompetence

  • huktra

    The bedroom tax has a nice ring of coalition sleaze.
    They should keep on it.

  • Theodoxia

    “Scraping the barrel” was the phrase I heard. Perhaps scrapping is the word Ed Miliband’s colleagues will be using when he is out of hearing.

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