Wednesday, 17 December 2008

PMQ's - stand-in's fail to excite

. As the The Mole reported on First Post the Conservatives were denied an opportunity to really haul Gordon Brown over hot coals about the rise in unemployment as the PM was busy announcing an eye-catching withdrawal of troops in Iraq. So, we were left with the unpromising contest of Harriet Harman and William Hauge for the last PMQ's before the Christmas break. Certainly not much prospect of a repeat of the hilarity of last week with the two rather dour stand-ins.

Brian Donohoe, Labour, asked about energy prices. Harman said the energy companies should pass on price cuts and said that if they wouldn't the government would change the law to force them to do it; enter William Hauge. Hauge welcomed the announcement on the Iraq withdrawal and called for a full-scale inquiry. Harman brushed it aside by saying Brown would make a full statement upon his return. He then moved onto unemployment and returned to the theme of government guaranteeing loans. Harman reeled off a list of measures and said that lending was "showing signs of improvement"; Hauge repeated his call for a National Loan Guarantee scheme.

Hauge managed to raise a wry smile by saying that government policy was repeating itself and "at Christmas time we are not just supposed to get repeats". Obviously the television isn't on very often in the Hauge household over Christmas. Temperatures started to rise with Harman accusing Hauge of 'talking-down' the economy after Hauge said a fiscal stimulus was not enough and derided the VAT cut. It all started to get a bit silly when Harman said that we "would rather have Superman leading us than a joker".

Much to my great disgust I missed Vince Cable's questions due to my internet going down. All in all PMQ's loses something when all the main leaders are not present.

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