PMQs: Miliband goes all Thatcher

Full marks to Ed Miliband. He had a good Prime Minister’s Questions this week.

One of the reasons he did so well is that he took a leaf out of Margaret Thatcher’s book. He lowered the tone of his voice. Gone was the shrill shouting of recent weeks. Instead we had a calm, firm low tone. And he slowed down his delivery, making it very de-li-ber-ate. As a result he sounded a lot more effective.

First on executive pay, and then on the NHS, Miliband did well against the PM. For me, his line of the week was this one on top pay:

he says that the class war against the bankers is going to be led by him and his Cabinet of millionaires. I do not think it is going to wash, frankly.

On the NHS reforms, he also started a very good chorus of “against the bill” from his own backbenchers, as he read out a list of professional and other bodies who are…..all together now….”AGAINST THE BILL”.

David Cameron got into trouble with the speaker for accusing Miliband of “hypocrisy”, which was deemed “not parliamentary” and had to be withdrawn.

Doughnut of the week
There is a little piece of business which takes place when backbenchers ask questions. More often than not, they are surrounded by like-minded MPs. It is interesting to observe the supportive nods and noises from these “doughnuts”. As Esther McVey (Con) asked a question, I thought Eleanor Laing won the prize for adoring look of the week.

The Tory whips managed to rack up five Tory questions about the £26,000 benefit cap, with two additional Prime MInisterial mentions and a further question from the DUP.

The Labour whips managed to get in a few mentions of the contrast between the government’s ‘lax’ treatment of high earning executives and its treatment of hard-working families. In fact, “working” scores heavily in this Wordle cloud (right) of this week’s PMQs. Indeed, “I think it is right to support working people” is the sentence of the week, according to Wordle.

LibDem questions
Tom Brake asked about the future of the Epsom, St Helier and Sutton hospitals.

Juilan Huppert asked if the Prime Minister would go “further and faster” on the increase of the income tax threshold to £10,000, pointing out that the measure was on the front page of the last Liberal Democrat manifesto.

Quoting the tragic case of a constituent, Greg Mulholland asked whether drivers’ licences will be withdrawn as a bail condition in death by dangerous driving cases involving alleged serious breaches of the alcohol limit.

* 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.


  • To be honest with the raw material available Millibland again failed to rise to the occasion. Yes, Cameron was on the back foot with the NHS but my 8 year old could have achieved that on the back of the statements from the Royal Colleges.

    He should have also highlighted the Lords amendments (that were later overturned) instead of shying away due to public opinion. He would have known there was at least some Lib Dem MP support for the amendments and should have risked a bit to leverage it.

    If he isn’t prepared to try and shape public opinion rather than just follow it he will continue to be a poor leader of the opposition.

    Julian Huppert continues to impress me. The more ways tax thresholds can be kept on the agenda the better…

  • He’s taking another leaf out of Thatcher’s book – flirting with euroscepticism. “A veto is not for life – just for Christmas” is a well-prepared soundbite but much more likely to appeal to the Bill Cash mentality than to those of us who want our government to be making the best possible contribution to solving the problems of the Eurozone.

    Milliband should be firmly opposing Cameron’s attempt to weaken the treaty initiative by attempting to use a veto in the first place – not vilifying him because the attempt came to nothing. After all Milliband is perfectly well aware that if the eurozone goes down we go down too.

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 ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSean Hagan 1st Jun - 4:39pm
    Just a general observation ... it would be good if those standing for election as party leader (and I’m not just singling out Wera here),...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 1st Jun - 4:25pm
    @FSPeople The reference to Google translate was my attempt at a joke. If you had read more of my posts you would know that irony...
  • User AvatarFSPeople 1st Jun - 4:14pm
    Peter Martin “We are a more densely populated country than Sweden” How are you calculating that? UK: 83.2 % of the population is urban...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 1st Jun - 4:11pm
    Peter Martin: The site you reference,, tends to be a few weeks out of date in its published opinion polls (the poll you mention...
  • User AvatarDavid Craddock 1st Jun - 4:10pm
    Federalism is about a form of Governance that has Regions at its heart. I think we are confusing nation states in the UK and regions...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 1st Jun - 4:06pm
    As usual, David, constructive and correct on many things. I think the issue is, one person perceives radical, in a different way to someone else....