Well that was the first PMQs of John Bercow's time as speaker. I thought he did OK. Here are my highlights:
- He got in early by cutting short a planted question stating "We got the jist of it!"
- When there was continual barracking during the Cameron/Brown exchanges he interrupted and insisted that the public do not like it "and I do not like it!". Things were a bit quieter after this.
- He chided Michael Fabricant the Tory MP saying that he must calm himself "It's not good for your health!".
- The best bit for me was a slap down to another Labour back-bencher who started trying to tack on slating of opposition policies to his question. Bercow interrupted and said that the PM need not concern himself with opposition policies. If Bercow sticks to this then it could eventually make life difficult for the PM as that's half his question answering strategy out of the window.
- He made a brief statement at the end firstly insisting that ministers must make statements initially to the house not the media, must keep questions and answers relatively short and that those speaking must be able to be heard.
There was however no attempt to stop the planted questions. There was no rebuke for Mr Brown given how he trampled all over Harriet Harman's statement to the house yesterday as Paul Waugh commented on. There was also no attempt to get Gordon Brown to actually answer the question as he reeled off tractor statistics and made reference to David Cameron times in the Treasury 17 years ago when he was about 25 and in no position of power at all (I always find this pathetic).
So, there is a lot more he could and should have done. However I suppose if he had tried to do all of this it would have meant all the headlines would have been about him playing to the gallery and trying to personalise the Speakership. One step at a time.
I very much hope he does try to address some of these other points though in the coming weeks. Let's see.
Lib Dem Voice also have a review here and Constantly Furious is not impressed with Bercow at all here.