PMQs: PIP or pip-squeak?

This week Prime Minister’s Questions contained a discussion of the military action in Libya. The need for Arab involvement in the task force was emphasized. Ed Miliband asked for David Cameron to clarify the position on the targeting of Colonel Gaddafi. The Prime Minister didn’t clarify it.

Ed Miliband then made a good point which David Cameron tersely swotted aside with worrying brevity. Miliband asked why the government is taking away the mobility component of the disability living allowance for those in care homes. That sounds a bit convoluted but if you look here you can read what it means in practice. The Prime Minister’s glib response was that the new personal independence payment (PIP) will fill the breach. But you can read here the real concerns of disability charities about this “reform”, which is perceived to be costly in terms of assessment in order to achieve an arbitrary 20% reduction in cost.

Other snippets were:

  • Whipwatch: The Tory whips got the Tories to ask about “spending money we don’t have” several times. The Labour whips got Labour MPs to say how wonderful the NHS is and that Cameron is distorting its record for his own ends.
  • Researcherwatch: Well done to the researcher who dredged up these facts for the PM to spout: We “are 72nd on wastefulness of Government spending, behind Kazakhstan and Cambodia; 108th on Government debt, behind Malawi, Lesotho and, yes, you’ve guessed it, Libya; on the soundness of banks, we are 133rd. Our banks, under Labour, were less sound than those in Serbia, Estonia, Madagascar and Chad.” I think Cameron really is over-egging the pudding now.
  • Jo Swinson (LibDem) asked about the consequences of the Japanese nuclear emergency for the proposed UK nuclear power station programme.
  • Sheffield Forgemasters “has been encouraged to bid under the regional growth fund”.
  • Duncan Hames (LibDem) asked whether there will be reserved places for locally elected people on GP consortia boards. Rather obliquely, the Prime Minister replied only to say: “One of the ways we can make the NHS more accountable is through the better combination of the NHS and local government.” I’m not sure that really answered the question.
  • The Prime Minister does not always read the Morning Star. Well, I never.
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2 Comments

  • MacK (Labour) 25th Mar '11 - 9:28am

    Paul, I think that Cameron’s advisers have been reading the comments on Lib Dem voice and have decided that his strategy against Ed Miliband’s short, incisive opening question must be to respond with a clever, short dismissive answer instead of his usual apoplectic harrangue. But someone should have told him that that will only work if the response is unambiguous. It would seem that Flashman has no idea what his own legislation will do to mobility allowance, just as he appeared not to know that his NHS reforms would bring the NHS under European competition law for the first time. By the way, post budget it seems that some commentators have suggested that mobility allowance will still be removed from those in care homes. Does anyone know what the real policy is?

  • ‘Flashman has no idea what his own legislation will do to mobility allowance, just as he appeared not to know that his NHS reforms would bring the NHS under European competition law for the first time.’

    Flashman doesn’t do detail – it irritates him apparently. He has plebs to deal with the finer points and flag-up anything that doesn’t look right.

    Come on, he’s got better things to do like sell weapons to the Saudi and Bahrain governments to use against protesters.

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