Wednesday, January 18, 2006

PM Questions – and some old faces

After last week’s excitement it was back to near normal this week. When Ming stood up for his turn the Speaker had to intervene and reminded MPs that everyone had had a bit of fun last week but they must now allow the old chap to be heard. The LibDem leader asked two very short and bland questions about implementation of the recommendations following the Soham murders. Mr Blair answered the question he thought that Ming should have asked about Ruth Kelly’s department.

Earlier we’d learnt that a heartless LibDem council had closed a swimming bath in Chesterfield. The PM was suitably horrified. David Cameron used his first batch of 4 questions to fret about the cost of ID cards. Mr Blair reminded him that most of the cost is around the biometric element that will be needed anyway for passports. He didn’t manage to get Mr Cameron to come clean about the real basis of his opposition to the cards but he did succeed in getting in a couple of digs about how often and how rapidly Tory policy changes these days. Mr C came back later with some questions about climate change allowing Mr B to say something like: ‘Where Tory policy is sensible it’s in agreement with the Government’s policy but when it’s not in agreement it’s not sensible.

A real treat, John Redwood got called and asked about academic selection, so not all the Tory backbenchers can be all that thrilled with their new leader’s education policies. Then, joy of joy, came Dennis Skinner who seemed amazed to have been called. He spoke about carbon emissions and reminded the House that the Tories had closed the clean coal technology plant when they were in power. As Mr B said ‘when things go wrong it’s always the Tories fault’ which is pretty much Dennis’s constant refrain.

Lots of other interesting points including a hint of compromise over police force mergers; the PM spoke of strategic cooperation between forces. A possible alternative to ‘unpopular’ mergers? Then two points of order, how exciting!

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