And so we arrive at the last PMQs before the House rises for its Easter break. What may be on the menu when Young Dave and Mil The Younger face off across the Dispatch Box? As if anyone needs to ask: the only uncertainty is how the Maria Miller questioning will be worded, how noisy it will get, and how many times Mr Speaker has to call the silly beggars to order. Eyes down, look in.
Such were expectations that Mr Speaker had to quieten the House before it all kicked off. Nia Griffith started us off on migration. But we knew what the main event was, and here came Miliband with his six off the reel.
What lessons has the PM learned? Cameron rambled and rabbited. What did Maria Miller do wrong? Dave waffled about allowing her to make an apology. Fine, said Ed, so why was she not still in her post? [Order! There are children here observing this House!] Cameron points out that Miliband did’t call for her to go.
He could have chosen his words a little more carefully.
“It’s my job to fire the members of his cabinet!” retorted a gleeful Miliband. Had this been any other business, she’d have been fired! Dave deflected yet again. There was more to do with expenses, and it was already jolly tough compared to what it was like under the other lot!
By this point, Cameron was getting testy, as he always does when things are not going to plan. Miliband was jumping on the bandwagon! And the circus had already left! Jolly rubbish those Labour chappies are, what?
Back came Miliband. Did Dave not realise that his failure was bad for politics? Politics, you say? The PM threw it back. Ed was just playing politics [nowt gets past him, does it?].
And so we came to another convenient Miliband soundbite, tailored very deliberately for this evening’s news bulletins: He Just Doesn’t Get It! And, to rub it in, Cameron was an apologist for unacceptable behaviour. By now Dave was not a happy bunny. We knew this because he got out the “weak, weak, weak” and waved it around furiously. And he wasn’t out of the woods yet.
Andy Slaughter and Jenny Chapman both asked the PM directly if he, or any of his staff, asked Maria Miller to resign. There came back only deflection.
Wasn’t anyone going to provide some light relief? Happily, there was David Nuttall (crazy name, crazy guy?!?) to suggest Dave took the winner of the IEA Brexit prize along as holiday reading. Cameron pondered whether that, or the fragrant Nadine’s new novel, might be the better read. Brace for bad polls, Dave.