Nick Clegg’s performance at Prime Minister’s Questions has been widely commented upon in today’s press. If you want to see a blow by blow account of the event, then I have collected tweets here and the official Hansard report is here. For me, the absolute highlight of an excellent performance from Nick was how he dealt with a question by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who asked a question about giving people who had been in care access to their files. Nick’s reply was sensitive and genuine as he promised help for those who had been abused.
I certainly think my hon. Friend is right in saying that, given the daily drip, drip effect of these horrific revelations—which seem to get worse every day—about things that seem to have taken place on a scale that was before now unimaginable, we should send out a clear message from all parts of this House to any victim who is sitting at home alone, still harbouring terrible memories of the terrible suffering they endured, that this is the time for them to speak out. This is the time for them to come forward. We will help them; we will reach out to them. We will make sure that their suffering is atoned for and that where we can find those who perpetrated these terrible abuses, they are brought to justice, even several years since those events might first have occurred.
But back to today’s papers.
All this time, the Cleggster was tonking Labour questions for six. Seldom have I seen the deputy PM look so pleased. He spoke without notes, too: quite brave to do that at PMQs.
There was even a backhanded compliment from Ephraim Hardcastle in the same paper, speculating that Nick Clegg’s performance was down to an unsubstantiated claim that he’d started smoking again.
Matthew Parris in The Times (£) says:
Golly! Just been watching PM’s Questions, fielded this week by Mr Cameron’s deputy. No — hear me out: I know PMQs doesn’t matter and I realise you may not be a fan of Nick Clegg. But the Deputy Prime Minister was really, really good yesterday. Deft, brisk and quick-fire, he packed quite a punch.
An interesting take from the Guardian’s live blog, suggesting that Harriet Harman had led Nick further than he has previously said on implementing the Leveson recommendations.
Harman is either enticing Clegg to vote with Labour (which is committed to implementing Leveson), or forcing him to make promises that the coalition will be unable to keep. It’s like making an investment; there’s no return today, but her tactics may reap benefits in the future.
For the record, it’s worth remembering that if it hadn’t been for the insistence of Nick Clegg, we wouldn’t have had a judge led enquiry at all.
James Forsyth in the Spectator seemed surprised that Nick mentioned the Liberal Democrat inspired raising of the tax threshold.
One thing that was striking was how often Clegg referred to the Lib Dem-inspired coalition move to raise the income tax thresholds. The Liberal Democrat leadership is convinced that this policy is beginning to pay dividends for the party and that they’ll receive the credit for the big increase in April.
“Everyone loves Clegg” was the verdict of Alex Stevenson at Politics.co.uk.
I think people would like to see Nick do PMQs more often. I certainly would be happy if it was his actual job.
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings