PMQs: My honourable friend makes an important point

I think David Cameron broke his own record this week:

(To Nicolas Soames) My right honourable Friend makes an important point.

(To Julian Brazier) My honourable Friend makes two very important points.

(To Duncan Hames) My honourable Friend raises an important point.

(To Margot James) My honourable Friend makes a very important point.

(To Andrew Stephenson) My honourable Friend makes an important point.

Five! Count them.

For once, at least a large part of Prime Minister’s Questions this week was reasonably sensible. Yaboo and/or Punch and Judy politics took a back seat.

There was a relatively sober and respectful exchange between Cameron and Miliband. Cameron wants an immediate parliamentary inquiry, with a rather vague remit, into the banks. Miliband wants a two stage judge-led inquiry, first to look, by December, into the LIBOR fiddle, and then to look at the wider culture of banking.

I doubt whether the man on the Clapham ominibus is going to get hot under the collar about the lack of a judge-led inquiry. It’s not exactly the sort of thing that you hear down the bar of the Dog and Duck: “I agree with that Miliband. There should be a judge-led inquiry and no mistake.”

Having said that, if the rather lukewarm select committee questioning of Bob Diamond yesterday is anything to go by, a judge-led inquiry is needed.

One of the reasons Cameron gave for not choosing a judge-led inquiry was that “the Serious Fraud Office is still considering whether to launch a criminal investigation. While that is happening, there are dangers in opting for a judge-led inquiry, which might not be able to get under way.” Hello!? That is precisely the argument given by Cameron not to have a judge-led inquiry into the press shambles before finally opting for a…er…judge-led inquiry.

Stentorian voice of the week

The House did get a bit yabooish at the end of the main exchange, I ought to say. Esther McVey, who asked a question after Miliband, did well to ask her question (about the Higgs boson particle discovery) above the noise of the rabble.

Stately galleons of the week

Our cup runneth over. First, Nicholas Soames rose, to loud cheering, to ask a question which was supportive of the City of London. Then we had Sir Peter Tapsell. Bless him. David Cameron gives him loads of respect (some of which perhaps ought to be saved for Dennis Skinner, who is of similar vintage.) The Tapsellular question was about delinquent banking executives not being able to walk away with bonuses and severance payments.

Lib Dem questions

Duncan Hames asked the Prime Minister to redouble efforts to ensure all boys and girls in the world go to school.

Stephen Lloyd asked that the Eastborne public and consultants are listened to in their opposition to proposals for the Eastbourne district general hospital.

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

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