It was back to business as usual at PMQs today. Gone was Miliband’s effort to raise the tone, which Cameron ruthlessly exploited last week, to be replaced by an old-fashioned, ding-dong with a bit of class war thrown in. The result: Labour MPs leaving the chamber in far better heart than they did last week.
Miliband started with a question on Syrian refugees. But then it was straight onto 50p tax. Miliband, with ample vocal support from this own benches, goaded Cameron about whether he’d rule out cutting the top rate again to 40p. Cameron tried to dodge the question and gave some rather meandering answers. I understand that the reason for him and Osborne refusing to rule out a cut to 40p is that they think that if they did this, they’d instantly be asked if they’ll rule it out for the next parliament too.
Cameron’s response to Miliband showed where the Tories think Labour are weak. Cameron branded them a ‘risk to jobs, a risk to the recovery and a risk to Britain’s security.’ The Tories, heavily influenced by Lynton Crosby’s polling, want to make Labour risk versus Tory security one of their main dividing lines in 2015. They also want to brand Labour as ‘anti-business.’ The Tory leadership are convinced that business is prepared to come out and attack Labour ahead of the next election in a way that they haven’t been prepared to do for a generation.
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