Thursday, February 07, 2008

Abolishing PMQs?

From, an entry suggesting that Gordon Brown might try to abolish PMQs:

Another Wednesday and another PMQs for Gordon Brown to have to endure. He clearly doesn’t like them and being open every seven days to the fierce blasts that Cameron is able to master cannot be very pleasant.

You mean at a time when the government is (mis)handling Northern Rock, talking about reforming the education system and has just lost a minister over inability to apply their own rules on campaign funding, the opposition scrutiny is intense and question? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you to discover that the parliamentary system is working as it should be. If you can't stand the heat, maybe you should reconsider whether or not you should even be in the kitchen.

Ever since a piece appeared in the Indy a couple of weeks ago about Brown’s views of the weekly ritual I’ve been pondering over whether we are being softened up for a proposal to change the structure.

You mean the fact that Labour can't spin this one is embarrassing, so they are just hoping to make it go away.

    Maybe they could find a way of blaming Cameron for the need for change because of the way the Tory leader handles the event
That appalling man - he has this odd idea that Prime Minister's Questions is about, well, asking the Prime Minister questions. Perhaps they should remember this is a democracy, not a dictatorship where you can sweep awkward questions under the carpet. Clearly Cameron forgets his place, that it is not his role to question the way those who have been raised to high office conduct their affairs.

The Indy suggested Gordon Brown is telling friends that the public is being increasingly repelled by the event and that the Commons exchanges are now of little use in discussing the issues of the day.

Indeed. It's damn difficult to discuss the issues of the day at PMQs when the PM tries to turn it into Leader of the Opposition questions.

For example, Sky reported that yesterday the Prime Minister was asked a straight question three times by David Cameron (about the PM's views on A Levels). The PM three times ignored the question, and asked Cameron a question. The exchange with Nick Clegg was even more bizarre - Clegg (correctly) raised concerns about the way this country is turning into a surveillence state, only for the PM to start raising questions about the LibDem policy on CCTV.

A lot has been made out of the Prime Minister's father being a minister in the Church of Scotland - perhaps, when it comes to looking at the reasons why the public might be put off by Prime Minister's questions, he should look up and reflect on Matthew 7:3.

Clearly there would have to be something in it place but, no doubt, something could be devised that sounded fair and reasonable but took away the Opposition Leader’s six questions.

It wouldn't matter if the entire half hour was Opposition Leader's questions, the chances of the Prime Minister actually answering a question are slightly slimmer than that of Iain Dale attending a Champions League semi final using his West Ham season ticket.

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