Nick Clegg did Prime Minister’s Questions today while David Cameron is schmoozing his way round the Middle East. He was so assured, confident and natural and spoke completely without notes. He even answered the question he was given and not the one he wanted to answer, too. He made David Cameron look like a complete amateur, to be honest, and Gordon Brown, too.
My Liberal Democrat Voice colleague Nick Thornsby reminded us on Twitter this morning that four years ago, two days after Barack Obama was elected the first time round, Nick, then a humble third party leader, questioned PM Gordon Brown, who put him down quite snidily. And the subject of his questions? Taxing the wealthy and cutting taxes for the poorest. Nothing if not consistent. Have a look here.
It was quite a contrast to see Clegg in Brown’s position today.
There was one irritation, though. In fact, two. Alan Reid and Simon Hughes both got up and asked the pathetically toadying soft ball question that always seems to come from the Government side in both Holyrood and Westminster. I can’t stand it whoever is doing it. I don’t know what Alistair Carmichael had on those two, whether they’d stolen his orange Clubs or something, but seeing grown liberals toadying is so not a good look. And it’s completely unnecessary. Nick didn’t need it as he’d already peppered references to the same points throughout the proceedings.
I think my favourite bit was when Peter Bone asked a really friendly question. Nobody could ever have expected that and Nick looked quite surprised about it. Mrs Bone didn’t get a mention, though. He will probably be in big trouble later. During the exchange, Nick got his obligatory Nadine Dorries joke in, saying that when he’d heard she’d gone off to the jungle to eat insects, he assumed it was a punishment from the Chief Whip. As if the gentlemanly Sir George Young would ever do anything so, well, naff.
I have put a selection of tweets from the occasion into a Storify story which you can read here.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings