Brown avoids a thumping
Brown lost over immigration at PMQs, but wasn't thumped which is a result for him. He is desperate to tease out a Tory split on the EU referendum, and may be making progress. I notice that when Brown embarked on his usual misleading economic boast (incapacity benefit numbers are dropping about as fast as Venice is sinking), he did not claim to have created 2m new jobs.
PMQs - The verdict
Due to the peculiarities of the parliamentary calendar, it was the first PMQs for three weeks which - given that Gordon Brown had been widely seen to have been drubbed by David Cameron in most recent encounters - had at least given the prime minister some breathing space and a chance to brush up on his technique. In the meantime, of course, there had been last week's bitter despatch box encounter between the two during the Queen's speech debate. So it was with some anticipation that MPs gathered in the Commons for the rematch.
Live blog of PMQs: The Prime Minister repeatedly fails to answer questions on the security clearance of 5,000 illegal immigrants
Editor's verdict: "Another very poor performance from Mr Brown. He dodged the questions of both David Cameron and Vince Cable. I wonder if the Labour MPs are beginning to miss Tony Blair?! Gordon Brown's stumbling performances do illustrate how good Mr Blair was at this."
PMQs - When did Jacqui Smith tell Gordon about the illegal immigrant security failure.
14 Nov 2007: When did Jacqui Smith tell Gordon Brown about the illegal immigrant security failure? That was the question David Cameron asked the prime minister during PMQs. And the answer is that we may never know because Gordon chose to dodge the question on several occasions.
Certainly less rowdy than it has been in the Commons of late, but no less intriguing. Cameron used all his questions on the Home Office illegal immigrant’s debacle. Brown repeatedly refused to answer the question of when did the Home Secretary know all this was going on. It made him look like a squirming, lying politician – certainly not the man who was going to take us away from this type of politics. However I felt Cameron should have used a couple of questions on a different subject to deliver a knockout blow. As it was, Cameron just didn’t finish off the job and in the end Brown held on and stuck to his guns. Cameron won this, but he could have won it a whole lot more convincingly and given the mess Smith and the Home Office have got Brown in to he actually didn’t do as bad as he might have – certainly better than he has done in past weeks. At least he kept his cool!
The highlight was Dennis Skinner’s “question” which was more of a mad rant at the Tories. You have to love this man even if he does spout vitriolic nonsense half the time.
I am going to award this to Cameron. Just.