By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
“It’s getting longer and longer,” the PM was heard to say over his mic at the end of PMQs today. Sorry Dave, the increase from 35 to 38 minutes must really put a dint into your day.
Last week’s overrunning PMQs meant he was late to meet the Chinese. I wondered which despot was left listening to Sam bang on about playing pool with Tricky at University, today. You almost feel sorry for them.
The main reason why the session keeps running late is because his own side shouts down Corbyn, and where Ed carried on as the abuse rained down on him, Jeremy stands motionless, making no sound and looking a bit like a perturbed owl.
After a few weeks of relative calm the Tories were back barracking the Labour leader at every opportunity. I’m not saying the Labour benches have become the embodiment of virtue; they simply appear frozen in a state of disbelief that the leader of the revolutionary Islington Popular Front is their new boss.
As ever Cameron was keen to deflect attention from himself and when asked a question about the inevitable NHS crisis this winter, he answered, “The winter crisis will be the Labour Party, look at his appointments, a media advisor who is a Stalinist, a policy advisor who is a Trotskyist and an economic advisor who is a Communist, for a move to the left I’d give him full Marks.” No Tsar Dave.
Cameron praised the last minute pay rise for junior doctors, which only happened due to the threat of strike action. However, if doctors take the carrot, will they find it is actually attached to a rather large stick to beat them with later?
However, the most brutal exchange came from his own side. Dr James Davies, Con, said Prestatyn High Street is up for an award for Britain’s best high street (it’s got a huge Costa presumably), against Chipping Norton’s CBD in Cameron’s constituency. How very middle class, but it was about to get worse. Fiona Mactaggart, Lab, told the house she went to Cheltenham Ladies’ College and the PM went to Eton which both have fantastic music, dance and creative facilities and why can’t all schools share this in this magic. I actually winced at this question.
Somehow that wasn’t the most embarrassing exchange about the creative arts today. John Nicolson, SNP, asked if the Government was sticking to his promise not to privatise the NHS. As with tax credits, it was another lie, but one the PM didn’t mind admitting too.
He said he was a huge fan of watching Channel 4, it was a Tory innovation, by Mrs T no less, and they were “looking at all the options, and we should ignore assumption that private is bad and public is good.” So that’s a no then.
It got me thinking what Dave might watch on C4, 24 hour shift in A & E, Made for Chelsea or simply Shameless.
Sycophantic question of the day
Stephen Metcalfe, Con, who told us about tractors built in his constituency the other week, now told the house about a tech business in Basildon to huge cheers. It’s all a bit Blind Date, next week he will simply say, “I’m Stephen and I represent ESSEX!”
Here is our Graham with a quick reminder: Number one, the chirpy old Etonian who wants to cut tax credits to working people and Number two who doesn’t.