PMQs: Coalition comrades and Kettering cabinets

David Cameron rather wiped the floor with Ed Miliband yesterday. He did so with the very simple device of producing a letter from Sir Alex Allan, regarding the Hunt BSkyB imbroglio, which stated:

The fact that there is an on-going judicial inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe I could usefully add to the facts in this case.

This rather demolished the Miliband edifice in one fell swoop, though he did produce an entertaining quote from the Prime Minister’s aide, about PMQs, to Tory MPs:

Comrades – We need a protective wall of sound. Last week we rather dried up. Please show sufficient stamina for the full half hour.

Lib Dems are also comrades, coalition comrades, said Cameron.

All that said, Ed Miliband did sew substantial doubt about Hunt potentially misleading the house and breaking the ministerial code. This one will run and run. …Mainly around in circles.

Philip Hollobone(Con) wants a Cabinet meeting to be held in Kettering. Goodness knows why…..what’s that? It’s his constituency? Oh, I see. Well, they’ve held cabinet meetings in Bradford, Derby, Ipswich, Cardiff and the Olympic park. So it’s only a matter of time before they get round to Kettering and other places I suppose. Though I think Orkney and Shetland can rest easy for the moment…

Lib Dem question

Mr Mark Williams (Ceredigion) (LD):
Unprecedented levels of flooding hit the north Ceredigion communities at the weekend, causing untold damage to households, businesses and infrastructure. I thank the Prime Minister for his words of support to my constituents, and I know that he is aware of the speed with which Ceredigion county council, the emergency services and many in the local community rallied to ensure that there was no loss of life. Will he urge all the insurance companies to act on this matter now, with renewed speed, so that we can get the communities back on their feet as quickly as possible?

The Prime Minister:
I certainly join my hon. Friend in praising the emergency services, which did a superb job at the weekend. I asked the Secretary of State for Wales and the Welsh First Minister to pass on my best wishes for the work that the emergency services had done. It was remarkable work. In all these flood situations, there is a rescue and emergency part, followed by a recovery phase. In many ways, the most difficult phase to get right is when people are going back into soaked homes with peeling plaster and all the other problems. That is when we need to ensure that they get swift action in the form of help from their district council and, above all, from the insurance companies. I will certainly work with my hon. Friend to ensure that that happens in this case.

* 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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  • Interesting misquote of the letter – the actual sentence continues and rather changes the implications:

    “The fact that there is an on-going judicial Inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe that I could usefully add to the facts in this case though I remain available should circumstances change or new evidence emerge.”

  • “The fact that there is an on-going judicial inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe I could usefully add to the facts in this case.”

    I think the point being missed here (and one Millibland also missed) is that Allen does not say that Hunt did not break the code, merely that he could not add to the facts. A big difference, and also a shameless use of an “independent” office to score a political point.

  • Tony Dawson 14th Jun '12 - 5:41pm

    @Sir Alex Allan,

    “The fact that there is an on-going judicial inquiry probing and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe I could usefully add to the facts in this case.”

    Er, Paul, that statement was a meaningless diversion. No one wanted Sir Alex to ‘add to the facts of the case’. They wanted him to advise whether the facts as are agreed constituted a breach of the Ministerial Code.

  • Kettering. The town may mirror the cabinet….

  • ‘Ed Miliband did sew substantial doubt about Hunt..’ I thought he was setting the seed as in ‘sow’, but perhaps he was attempting a stitch up , in which case ‘sew’ would be right.

  • Paul Walter Paul Walter 15th Jun '12 - 9:18pm

    Oh dear, Peter, and I even googled it to check the spelling and still got it wrong. never mind.

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