An unusually subdued PMQs. Proceedings started with the terrible and now horribly familiar tribute by the prime minister to a fallen soldier, in this case Lance Corporal Jamie Webb, killed in Afghanistan. One more name.
But then came the first question, about tax cuts for millionaires, and this the PM batted away, saying that the richest were now having to pay more.
The atmosphere was cheered somewhat as David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, mentioned his 100-year-old mother. Mother Amess, we learn, is rather a eurosceptic, so as she is soon to turn 101, her boy asks, is there any way an EU referendum might be brought forward? The House collapses in laughter at this coruscating flash of eurozone standup and the Prime Minister graciously offers his “fond regards to your mum,” in so doing taking parliamentary language to new, soaring altitudes.
There then stands Ed Miliband, who first acknowledges the death of the brave soldier and then jumps immediately to his chosen subject of the day: the NHS. Is the PM aware that patients are being shoddily treated? Is he aware that some in Accident and Emergency wards are being left on trolleys for anything up to 12 hours? What has the PM to say about that? The prime minister replied, saying that the Conservatives are the true party of the NHS. There is a modicum of approval for this statement from the benches behind him, but it is hardly overwhelming.