David Cameron strolled through today’s session of PMQs. Ed Miliband chose not to raise the question of what the Cabinet Secretary’s investigation into the May/Gove spat had found but to ask several, serious questions on the Birmingham schools row.
Miliband’s argument was that it was unclear who concerned parents should tell if they feared their school was being taken over by extremist elements. But Cameron was able to point out that local government accountability was not the answer as ‘Birmingham City Council failed in its duties’.
The Labour leader then moved on to passports. He didn’t score any hits on this in the Chamber but the Tories should be concerned about this issue. A reputation for competence will have to be one of their strengths in 2015 and a slew of stories about families having to cancel holidays because of poor government service is going to put a dent in that.
One striking aspect of today’s PMQs was how Tory MPs in marginal seats kept using the session to get publicity for their local jobs fairs. The questions might be tedious but they do garner good coverage in the local press for these MPs. It is another sign of how the Tories are determined to wring out every last drop of incumbency advantage.
Cameron was in relaxed form today, he didn’t go red as he so often does at PMQs. When the Labour MP Pamela Nash joked that one of his answers had put the image of Cameron in Speedos in her mind, he reassured her that the company made shorts too. But his best moment came when a Labour MP suggested after the last week that he should call Roy Hodgson for some tips on team discipline, this gave Cameron a chance to extol the virtues of his top team. Indeed, his answer was another reminder that the reshuffle—when it comes—will be a fairly limited affair.