Wednesday, April 09, 2014

PMQs April 9th- Here today, gone today. The Maria Miller story.

It was the bald bovver boy glowering where only a week ago she had sat glowering that confirmed the awful truth, Theresa May had taken the day off.

This was clearly the story of the day since the other one - the defenestration of Maria Miller - was already old news by the time Prime Ministers Questions kicked off.

Mrs Miller had gone to bed last night, so it was thought, happily wearing the pyjamas provided to her as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. But, as dawn broke over Basingstoke, it was revealed that instead, she had borrowed a passing sword and fallen upon it.
Rumours that the sword had been FedExed from No 10 were swiftly ignored but by 12 noon her replacement, Sajid Javid, was her unsmiling successor on the Government front bench.

Mrs Miller's future has of course been in doubt ever since the Prime Minister expressed his "total confidence" in it and her.
Indeed, Fleet Street's finest took this as a deliberate attack on their power to decide who is in or out of the cabinet.

But, thanks to the itinerant sword and its proximity last night to which ever of her homes Maria was in, the natural order was restored.
So with Fleet Street squared, Dave had only parliamentary democracy to deal with in a quick half hour before the Easter hols began.

But, he was clearly going to make heavy weather of it as he accused the Leader of the Opposition of being "determined to play politics". 
This shocking charge momentarily stunned MPs as they digested the thought that politics might intrude on PMQs.

Luckily common sense, and the Speaker, intruded.
"Children are here today", said Mr Bercow, and the ones in the chamber returned to normal business - and normal shouting. 

Dave had turned up expecting a hiding but the collective guilt of his back bench MPs came to his aid.

Almost all of them had been apparently been out of the country as he sought public support for backing Mrs Miller.
But, having heard she'd been dumped, they were fully back on their leader's side, at least until half past twelve.
And so they were fully up for hypocrisy as Ed Miliband decided to stick to the script he'd been practising before the news of Maria's overnight suicide.
"What lessons had the PM learned" asked Ed, who always knows when to play a good hand of righteous indignation.
"Not to trust my own party", might have been Dave's answer. But, instead he dug into his bag of ready to wear insults and accused Ed of climbing onto a passing political bandwagon.

Labour's leader seemed to pale sightly at the thought and said the country - and he - was angry.

The Prime Minister, not to be out-angered,  asked what he would have done and Ed translated this into an invite to sack members of Dave's cabinet.

Down the front bench this was enough for Vince Cable to swap his traditional don't-mess-with-me gargoyle for the smiley one he uses for holidays.

Next to the PM, his deputy Nick Clegg took time out from practising for the next sewing bee to look marginally interested but William Hague just looked as if he needed a pint. The new Culture secretary looked as if he needed his mam.

Luckily for all, Ed has enough problems with his own and so turned down Dave's kind offer added a few extra insults and sat down to cheers, jeers and general mayhem. Meanwhile the children up in the gallery stared down at their counterparts below.

Ps: The Prime Minister praised Ed Balls for running in the London Marathon.

PPS: He praised Maria Miller last week.