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Wednesday 18 June 2014

PMQs – Itch-A-Sketch 17

It’s that time of the week again, and as Young Dave takes on all comers across the Dispatch Box today, possible attack lines for Mil The Younger include the thaw in relations with Iran – but that risks a snark on Syria – along with inflation being down, but still higher than wage rises. There’s also Ukraine, the NHS funding gap, and Jean-Claude Juncker. So eyes down, look in.
Boring. Yes it was. So boring that Penny Mordaunt was on Twitter before it was half-way through. It was punctuated with boring things like University Technical Colleges, especially in Watford.

At this point I was glad that the Virgin Trains services I use to get to and from London bat through Watford without much more than slowing a little for that curve overlooking the Tesco Extra.

But yes, there was something of note, and it was cross party consensus – of the kind that pulls a Prime Minister out of the poo, into which he very nearly got pitched by his own side. Miliband to the rescue? Was this right?

It certainly was: before Ed could even make his pitch, Father of the House Peter Tapsell thundered to some purpose about the Chilcot Inquiry. Where was the report? And would the PM start the process of impeachment against Tone, for allegedly doing whatever it was that the Tories supported in 2003?

Whoops! Dave bodyswerved the Blair reference. But he’d have published it sooner. The other lot – yes, you, the one waiting to bowl your six, you – voted to drag it out. It’s their fault! He wasn’t convincing.

But then Miliband was conciliatory. He wanted progress reports on the situation in Iraq. Agreed on reopening the embassy in Tehran. Wanted to share concerns over extremism. Cameron was mildly distracted. The House was unusually quiet. He did not need to raise his voice.

Nor, thank goodness, did he need to deploy what were Tractor Statistics when it was Pa Broon, but jolly good figures now he was on that side of the chamber.

And then the Labour benches came to his rescue a second time, as Ben Bradshaw asked how he was getting on with Jean-Claude Juncker.

Dave was now a much happier bunny. He could raise his voice. He had a rotten foreign bogeyman to rail at. Gosh, these Labour types could be jolly useful when they tried.

But it was still a bit boring. I know this as Penny Mordaunt didn’t look up from her Twitter conversation.

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