Brown on the rack
If Gordon Brown thought his "we're-all-in-this-together" approach to the dodgy donations row was going to blunt David Cameron's attacks, he was sorely disappointed.
Mr Cameron called for a police investigation
Westminster watchers were struggling to recall the last time a sitting prime minister was subjected to such a stinging character reading. (OK, at least until they recalled some of Tony Blair's darkest days.)
PMQs - The verdict
"So can it get any worse?" for Gordon Brown asked the Daily Mail's front page this morning. After this week's prime minister's questions, it probably just has. David Cameron was predictably damning about the latest funding scandal to hit the Labour Party. However the chink in his armour on this issue is the Conservatives' own less than pristine reputation on party funding, summed up by vocal Labour MPs as a reliance on Lord Ashcroft's credit card. Dealt a disastrous hand yet again, for as many weeks as it is now possible to remember he has come into PMQs on the backfoot, Brown did his best and tried in vain to take the attack to the Tories. However it was hard work from the off.
Prime Minister's Questions - Donor-gate.
Cameron went in for the kill, and point blank questioned Brown's competence as prime minister. All Gordon Brown could do in reply was to hark back to 1992. It was an absolutely pathetic display by Brown and surely his days are numbered. Vince Cable brought the house down by pointing out the Brown had transformed from Stalin to Mr bean over the last few weeks.
Another miserable PMQs for Brown
What does Jon Mendelson know? Enough, it seems, to keep his job. There was muffled laughter in the house when Brown said a "former bishop of Oxford" would look into all this. Who else? Graham Norton? Cameron did well venting incredulity that Brown would use the old Blair-style inquiry device to kick this into the long grass.
Vince Cable - "Brown transformed from Stalin to Mr Bean!"
Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne have rightly both paid tribute to Vince Cables huge success in just a few short weeks, as Acting Leader. I've just heard him, once again, bring the House of Commons to a standstill at Prime Minister's Questions, with a very funny quip- that in a few months Gordon Brown has been transformed from Stalin to Mr Bean!- Referring to the chaos in his Government. Vince then followed this with a serious question, concerning the armed forces, asking if it was true that the PM is really not interested in ensuring they are properly equipped and funded.
Another grim day for Gordon Brown
Great air of expectation ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions today. Authority is draining away from Gordon Brown’s government so rapidly that he had to get a clear win in his clash with David Cameron. Did he? No, he got something of a hammering. Cameron began slowly with a forensic attempt to pick apart the ludicrous nature of Brown and Labour’s position on their funding crisis.
Prime Minister’s Questions Podcast - Donation-Gate: 28 November 2007
The best line in Prime Minister’s Questions came from Vince Cable for the Lib Dems:
The Prime Minister has changed from Stalin to Mr Bean, bringing chaos out of order. And in answer to the question about defence spending, we have an exhibition of straightforward deceipt from Gordon Brown, claiming the second largest defence budget in the world on the basis of cash comparisons. He knows full well that his own government make their routine comparisons on the basis of purchasing power parity, and that that will give a very different answer.
Live blog of PMQs from noon: Cameron questions the integrity of the man Vince Cable calls Mr Bean
4pm: A great line from Fraser Nelson (my emphasis): "Brown told Peter Tapsell that "this job is an important job and I will continue to do it to the best of my ability". Yes, Prime Minister, that's what we're all worried about." Editor's verdict: "Vince Cable steals the show today with his Mr Bean line. As the FT's George Parker has just said on Radio Five - Mr Brown thinks himself a serious, weighty figure and hates to be ridiculed. Well done, Mr Cable! Another good performance from Mr Cameron. He provided plenty of good clips for the rest of the day's broadcasts. Also good to hear John Gummer and Michael Ancram joining the attack so successfully."
Once again Gordon Brown was on a hiding to nothing today – but you would have least have thought he’s have something up his sleeve. I mean, there were no prizes for guessing what the main topic of questioning was going to be. The best he could do was blame the Tories for Black Wednesday fifteen years ago! All true Gordon, but hardly topical! Cameron on the other hand was once again holding all the aces and yet again did not quite slay the clunking fist as he might. He is has not used his questions as economically as he might in the past few weeks. Though it was his final, killer question that sealed him the inevitable point this week:
“We have had 155 days of this Government: disaster after disaster, a run on a bank, half the country’s details lost in the post and now this. The Prime Minister’s excuses go from incompetence to complacency and there are questions about his integrity. Are not people rightly asking, “Is this man simply not cut out for the job?”
Howls from the Tory benches, winces from the Labour benches. But that was nothing. Once again the real star of the show was Vince Cable. He got him on Defence, but he really brought the house down with:
“The House has noticed the Prime Minister’s remarkable transformation in the past few weeks from Stalin to Mr. Bean”
And then Michael Ancram asked him what we were all thinking – something you feel that Cameron should have done:
“In the face of the recent crises that have beset the Prime Minister, particularly this last one, he has told us that he learned about them only at the last possible moment. Why does he think that members of his Government—and, indeed, of the party that he purports to lead—are apparently so intent on keeping him in the dark?”
PMQs are not particularly pleasant at the moment, but it makes great viewing!
I score it: