Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Cameron's first PMQs as PM - Review

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

I thought David Cameron did pretty well at PMQs today. The whole affair began in a fairly understated way largely due to the deaths this morning in Cumbria.

Harman asked some difficult questions about anonymity for rape suspects and deliberately chose a good wedge issue between Tories and Lib Dems on married tax allowance. Cameron handled all of this OK though in my view.

In fact (whisper it) but he seemed very statesmanlike at the dispatch box. Someone commenting on my live chat mentioned that he seemed to be following some pretty specific body language routine to appear so. That's probably the public school education coming through!

What most impressed me though was his willingness to actually try to answer the questions. Where Gordon Brown would have just reeled off a list of tractor statistics and then insulted his questioner I got the feeling that Cameron was trying to engage properly. He was a bit evasive in some places but if we are to be fair PMs cannot know the answer to everything. Cameron himself made this point when he said he would write to a member about an answer to which there was some heckling. His response then was that at least he was trying to give correct answers rather than making them up on the spot. This would be fair enough except that when Brown use to try that Cameron used to accuse him of dithering! Some level of hypocrisy would seem to be par for the course even in the "new politics".

The overall level of jeering and heckling seemed less than normal (although not totally absent). This can probably be partly ascribed to the fact that the Lib Dems (whose leaders always used to get way more than their fair share) are now in government. It is probably also due to the sheer number of new MPs who are still finding their feet. However it is welcome and I hope it continues and maybe even improves further.

An impressive outing for the new Prime Minister. It will be interesting to see if this sort of standard can be maintained as he it battered by events in the coming months and years.


Andrew Best said...

I've just blogged on same topic Mark, you should check it at I was pleased overall with today granted it's importance is not that profound, but oh well.

dazmando said...

I hope any debuty Lib Dem Leader will be allowed to ask those two questions or that some deal can be done so Lib Dems ask more than one question