DPMQs: De facto but not de jure Fruit Ninja

MPs are always queuing up in droves to ask a question of the Deputy Prime Minister. He is what the Speaker describes as “box office”.

The subjects at this monthly session can, however, be a bit repetitive. House of Lords reform, electoral registration and lobbying all tend to pop up every time.

Helen Grant (Con) was anxious to get the Royal Sucession changes on the statute books pdq. But Nick Clegg reassured her that, should the Duchess of Cambridge undergo successful confinement resulting in a female happy event, then the new rule would apply de facto, despite not being de jure. So there.

Harriet Harman (Lab) can be relied upon to have burnt the midnight oil preparing a cheesy line. This month’s effort was:

It is always the same with this Deputy Prime Minister: he says one thing and does another. For all the difference that he makes in Government, he might as well be chillaxing or beating his own record at Fruit Ninja.

Harman’s pop about tax cuts for millionaires received a very effective reply, first essayed by the Prime Minister a few weeks ago:

She referred to the upper rate of income tax, and she is ranting and railing against the new 45p rate that we will introduce next April. Perhaps she can answer a simple question. Why did the Labour party maintain a lower tax rate of 40p in the pound for upper-rate earners for the 12 years and 11 months for which they were in office?

Back-handed compliments of the week

Jake Berry (Con) suggested the reformed House of Lords should sit in Sheffield. Peter Bone (Con) said that if Nick Clegg succeeds with House of Lords reform he will be a national hero*.

Obsessed question of the week

From Grahame Morris(Lab):

May I…ask whether he is aware that figures have been placed in the House of Commons Library this morning showing that public sector debt has risen from £12,500 per head in May 2010 to £16,200 per head in April 2012? Is this figure—[Interruption.] It’s higher. Is this higher figure a result of the Deputy Prime Minister having taken his eye off the ball by concentrating on Lords reform instead of getting on with jobs and growth and getting our 1 million young people back to work?

Hen’s teeth rarity of the week

Rehman Chisti, a Conservative, in favour of House of Lords reform. You don’t get many of those to pound.

*“to the 8% who vote Liberal Democrat”…

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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