The government just set the terms of debate for the next general electionby Jay Elwes / June 26, 2013 / Leave a comment
Scotland Questions was especially rumbustious today. The benches were largely full and becoming more so, as was the gallery above, crammed with schoolchildren, staring mournfully through the glass that encloses the visitors’ section. The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore (Lib Dem, Roxburgh and Selkirk), answered questions well and in good voice, without notes, or at least none that were visible on the dispatch box.
Throughout these exchanges the House seemed to bubble. Andrew Tyrie (Cons, Chichester) took his seat on the back benches, looking a man well contented. He smiled and talked genially to the member beside him. What could be behind his good humour? A recently-won award, perhaps? But then the hubbub reached levels that caused the Speaker to intervene, demanding quiet, which was duly granted. Though not for long—exchanges between Moore and Angus Robertson (SNP, Moray) reached a crescendo of bellowing, which was only narrowly won by Moore, advantaged in the shouting match by having a microphone.
Prime Minister’s Questions
Then there came questions to the Prime Minister, the first of which came from Gordon Henderson (Cons, Sittingbourne and Sheppey) who asked whether the government would continue to ensure that mortgages would remain affordable. The suggestion that the British government could control long term interest rate expectations, especially in light of recent announcements by the US Federal Reserve Bank, seemed from a lost time—an era when Sterling was the dominant international reserve currency. Which it isn’t any more. The PM replied that of course his government would do all it could to keep rates down, unlike the party opposite.
Ed Miliband then asked his first question, standing to a chorus of cheers (or were they jeers?). What, he asked, had happened to the 261 schools projects that the government promised to undertake? To this, the Prime Minister harkened back, horrified, to the mess that his government inherited from the last Labour administration. Ed then answered his own question, revealing that of the 261, only one school project had so far been started. Why? Again the PM delved into the nightmarish history of Labour’s legacy, before rising to the surface to say that this government was providing half a million new school places.