Clegg’s first PMQs (UPDATED)

Prime Minister’s Questions has just started. Use this thread to post up your comments…

Brown and Cameron play the ID cards shuffle: Brown is in favour, but Cameron quotes Darling having been against them; Cameron is against, but Brown quotes one of his Shadow Cabinet (Pauline Neville-Jones) having been for them. No prizes for guessing which is the party that can claim consistent opposition.

Clegg goes on fuel prices. He’s in a different place from that used by Campbell – sitting two places further in, so that he is surrounded by Liberal Democrat MPs.

His choice of a bread and butter issue ties in which his previous comments about concentrating on issues which matter ‘out there’ rather than those that get people in the Westminster hothouse most excited.

Steve Webb follows up (several questions latter) on the same issue. Is this a new Lib Dem tactic? Clegg gets fewer questions than Cameron, so perhaps he’s trying to overcome that disadvantage by having a more co-ordinated approach amongst Lib Dem MPs?

And the verdict from Daily Politics? Clegg was the winner today.

UPDATES:

  1. Lynne Featherstone’s quick off the mark with her PMQs reaction on her blog.
  2. Sky’s verdict: “Confident, assured, he even received the warmest of welcomes from the Prime Minister – there is an “open door”, apparently – and will see today as an auspicious start.”
  3. Andrew Sparrow on The Guardian’s news blog: “He was solid and serious and chose a topic – fuel poverty – that will refinforce his credentials as a progressive politician.”
  4. Michael White, also of The Guardian: “Nick Clegg did his first turn as Lib Dem leader at PM’s question time today. How did he do? Quite well, I thought, watching it on TV like most people do.”
  5. Sam Coates, on The Times’s Red Box blog: “MPs of all shades seemed impressed by Nick Clegg’s first performance at Prime Minister’s Questions. No stumbling, clear delivery, strong choice of subject. It worked in the chamber, but was better on TV, apparently.”
  6. The Guardian: “Nick Clegg did pretty well at prime minister’s questions yesterday, making a solid start as Lib Dem leader by asking about fuel poverty.”
  7. ITN: “In a confident performance, Mr Clegg warned that countless British families were facing fuel bills of “£1,000 or more for the first time” this year.”
  8. The Times: “Commentators later described his manner as brisk and businesslike, as he made his mark at the weekly ritual where the party’s last leader, Sir Menzies Campbell, suffered humiliation.”

Do highlight any other online reactions in the comments.

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34 Comments

  • Dave Hennigan 9th Jan '08 - 12:06pm

    Cameron asks about ID Cards – genuine attempt to scupper Nick Clegg!

  • Dave Hennigan 9th Jan '08 - 12:12pm

    Glad to see the end of Punch and Judy politics!

  • Very solid. I like his style.

  • Dave Hennigan 9th Jan '08 - 12:17pm

    Mark Hunter looks like the Churchill dog nodding along. I wish someone would speak to our MP’s who arrive at 5am just to get their seat to get on TV and ask them to stop nodding like idiots!

  • Good start.
    Quiet, low-key, respectable. Nice change from the usual harranguing.

  • Can someone tell Brown to stop reeling on and on about ‘low inflation,low unemployment etc’ On top of that, why does want to go on about the 3 million unemployed? That was over 15 years ago.

  • Dave Hennigan 9th Jan '08 - 12:28pm

    Louise Ellman – talking about the Capital of Culture Bid – despite the Labour Party in Liverpool undermining it relentlessly!!! and the Government refusing to pay towards increased policing costs. Hypocrisy!!!

  • Martin Land 9th Jan '08 - 12:29pm

    a good start

  • Daily politics is saying that Clegg was the winner today. Good stuff for his first PMQs.

  • simon wilson 9th Jan '08 - 12:55pm

    Good solid start

  • I thought it was a good subject, well delivered- faultless.
    It was also a good idea for Nick to sit flanked by other frontbenchers.

  • Competent. No more. Not a patch on Cameron’s first outing, but not a train wreck which had to be avoided at ALL costs [and it makes my heart pound just to watch it].
    But I am not leader. Blandness will not do for ever.

  • Alix at 19- yeh agree: if I hear Cameron say ‘ okay lets try another question’ one more time… I’ve nothing against testosterone, but he and Brown are taking PMQ to new dizzying levels of the stuff.

  • James
    Vince was able to make an impact because people in the media had low expectations and were, for once, happy to be proved quite wrong. I also doubt [as Nick himself said] they would have been quite so willing to eat their words if he had been permanent.

    ‘Cameron is dull at PMQs ‘ If we were honest, we would be more than happy if our leader did as well. You seem happy already and he hasn’t done aswell. It is not helpful to underestimate our opponents. Setting the bar low for our own and raising it for others is a pointless internal exercise.

    I accept PMQs can be a bit of an irrelevance [in SOME, but not all circumstances]. Charles Kennedy wasn’t bad but in any event he had other qualities in bucket fulls which compensated hugely but which were quite unusual.

    ‘He’s outclassed Brown certainly, but that’s old news ….’
    No it is not. It wouldn’t be if he stopped outclassing him. He has used it to better the man with more experience. He has taken something out it to his advantage, like it or not.

  • did it make the TV news?
    or were they only going to report it if it was a bad news story for the Lib Dems (hidden adgenda)

  • Lloyd
    You make a good point. It didn’t make the news that I saw and I saw three of them but the paper coverage seems OK.

    As for Brown’s lack of experience at PMQs – I don’t think a man who has made a career at Treasury Questions of steam rollering over the careers of others can claim a lack of operational experience [or lay a claim to sympathy]. He also has a pet referee [Mr Speaker]. I hope Brown doesn’t get away with asking Nick questions until he has had a few more sessions under his belt.

  • James Graham 10th Jan '08 - 12:40am

    Sal, I simply don’t accept that Cameron is doing anything that either resonates with the public or, more importantly, gets him reported as doing so. They always strike me as appallingly petulant. His performances are good for the morale of the Conservative Party (who love that sort of thing) I grant you, but nothing more.

  • did it make the TV news?

    I didn’t see any TV news yesterday, but it seemed to get some pretty decent coverage in the press. In fact the coverage was more extensive and more positive than I was expecting.

  • Watched the repeat of this and I agree Nick did really rather well – not fireworks, but professional. A good start.

    What struck me though, was the ineptitude of Michael Martin. Ok so he can’t force Brown to answer the question – and I’m sure he wouldn’t if he could – but when a PM is openly demanding that Cameron answers HIS OWN questions, that has to be beyong the pale.
    If I had been DC, it would have been a perfect opportunity to offer Brown a job-swap (or that famous General Election) if he wants to be the one asking the questions.

  • I listened to it on the radio in the car. I don’t know if that made a difference, but Cameron was pretty poor and was lucky not to get told to sit down like the hapless Labour backbencher on one of his questions.

    Clegg seemed solid – brevity is always better than waffle…

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