PMQs: Beccles, Bungay, swivel-eyes and the hysterically happy DUP

Did you know that the happiest people are in Northern Ireland? Laugh-a-minute DUP MP Nigel Dodds told us so at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson, on his feet following this announcement, bore something of a burden. Not known for his cheery disposition, a colleague twice entreated him to “Smile Jeffrey”.

High pantomime was the order of the day. Dear Gerry Kaufman seems to think that longevity in the House should be matched by longevity of questioning. Well into his sixth paragraph, it seemed, the Speaker gave him fierce winding up signals and commented: “The right hon. Gentleman has been lucidity itself. I am sure he is bringing it to an end.”

Peter Bone is the House of Commons’ Pantomime Dame without the levity or any of the costumes. His “My wife said to me…” routine was abandoned today in favour of another of his hilarious old favourites: the “What happens when my party leader dies?” routine.

The Prime Minister told us that retail guru Mary Portas is going to sort out the high streets in Beccles and Bungay – as well as the unalliterative Lowestoft.

And a Tory backbencher, of the Dorries/swivel-eyed persuasion, talked about “The Curse of Clegg” in relation to immigration.

…Yes, all that fun packed into thirty minutes.

…Oh, but wait a minute. I’ve forgotten something, haven’t I?

Ah, yes. The leader of the opposition. Not a bad day for him. He managed to thoroughly embarrass Michael Gove (More! More!) for saying, allegedly, that the Leveson inquiry is having “a chilling effect” on free speech. Using Blair-like skills of mind warping, David Cameron managed to pretend that Gove was entirely in agreement with the government’s line on the matter. Well, he is now.

Then we had the NHS again. A rich-seam for Labour, they obviously realise. But Cameron has well and truly dug in on this matter and continues to dig. He’ll emerge somewhere soon just outside Woy Woy, New South Wales.

We descended, as usual, into a “Swop Shop” of encyclopaedic lists of professional health bodies, some (very obscure ones, it seems) for, some (more well-known ones) against, the Health and Social Care Bill.

But I think Cameron had a good point when he accused of Miliband of continually going on about process and never actually talking about the substance of the bill. A change would be refreshing.

One of my favourite MPs, just because he gives the impression of being a big teddy bear, Sir Robert Smith, asked whether the £10,000 tax threshold change could be speeded up. Full marks to the LibDems for organising a remarkably omni-present campaign on this.

Another one of my favourite MPs, simply for coming from nowhere during the election counts in 2010, Ian Swales, asked if the PM agreed that “giant (wind) turbines should not be built…close to residential areas without local people having a say”.

Finally, The Deputy Prime Minister made his debut at a PMQs attended by David Cameron. When Ed Miliband called into question Nick Clegg’s support for the Health and Social Care Bill, Nick Clegg actually said something. Normally he just sits there studiously avoiding any form of nodding. Yes, he actually said:

I support it.

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

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in PMQs.
Advert

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJames Pugh 16th Nov - 7:57pm
    @David Evershed """"1. Under the EU we are discriminating against immigrants from Africa, Asia and Americas, hard to justify as a Liberal."""" As a nation...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 16th Nov - 7:44pm
    Alex Macfie "@David Allen: You are twisting my comments. Your assumption that Lib Dem votes are totally transferable to Labour (a common fallacy among “progressive...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 16th Nov - 7:34pm
    Third issue Taking medical staff from third world countries where they are desperately needed is hard to justify as a liberal. Let's keep the discrimination.
  • User AvatarJonathan Coulter 16th Nov - 7:01pm
    I feel the leadership has been over-bullish about this election. It is certainly very difficult negotiating a deal with Labour, but if both sides refuse...
  • User AvatarInnocent Bystander 16th Nov - 6:19pm
    @Paul, Don't worry, there is not the faintest chance, or sign, of any such turnaround at all. This economy is taking no steps to achieve...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill. 16th Nov - 6:19pm
    David Blake Michael Heseltine voted Liberal Democrat in the euro elections in May 2019. He/they has/have a variety of trees in an arboretum, which hopefully...