Ed Miliband Under Pressure After Another Poor PMQs Performance
Ed Miliband faces discontent among party loyalists, activists and even Labour MPs following a disastrous performance at the final PMQs before Christmas recess.
The Labour leader was roundly believed to have lost Wednesday's bout the moment the prime minister made a jibe about Ed Miliband's brother David, whom he fought for his party's leadership.
"No one in this House is going to be surprised that Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don't always agree about Europe but let me reassure him he shouldn't believe everything he reads in the papers. It's not that bad, it's not like we're brothers or anything," Cameron told Miliband.
On a day when Miliband should have won PMQs in light of spiralling unemployment and clear and obvious fractures between David Cameron and Nick Clegg, somehow the PM managed to get the upper hand. Miliband's poor performance came after a day of bad news in the polls, with the Conservatives enjoying a Brussels bounce, putting them two points ahead of Labour in The Sun's YouGov daily tracker.
The mood on the ground among Labour activists is low. Even those that voted for Ed are feeling increasingly discontent, sources have told the Huffington Post UK. But they haven't given up - yet.
Speaking to Huffost UK a shadow minister attempted to explain away Miliband's poor performance, saying: "It is difficult for Ed to make any headway on Cameron's veto because we know the public are supportive. But Ed needs to go back to the way Tony Blair taunted John Major on Europe in the 1990s and learn from that. It is possible to get the upper hand."
It should have been a difficult week for Cameron, following his decision to veto the EU treaty and facing the fallout of a Lib Dem revolt, this session would have been a fine time for Miliband to close out the year with an impressive final performance. However, by almost all accounts he failed.
After the two leaders clashed, Labour aides were pointing towards the #fivewordsforCameron hashtag on twitter rather than their leader's performance.
The commentariat also picked up on Miliband's PMQs nightmare. Benedict Brogan, of the Daily Telegraph, wrote that: "[Miliband] looked puzzled, as if he couldn't quite understand how he had just had his pocket picked by David Cameron. Actually, it was worse than that. He was slapped down, duffed up, knocked back, outclassed. It was a disaster for the Labour leader."
Appearing on BBC's Daily Politics, political editor Nick Robinson said that Miliband had "taken a pasting" from Cameron, with housing minister Grant Shapps criticising Miliband and Labour for not coming up with any plans to back up their criticism of the coaliton.
Politics.co.uk's Alex Stevenson concluded that: "Miliband did not do himself any favours afterwards by wrapping up with some questions about Europe. This only gave the PM another opportunity to point out the Labour leader doesn't really have a policy on whether he would have signed the treaty."
It seems like an age since Miliband had possibly his most memorable performance in the Commons during the eurozone debate, and his inability to capitalise on that has seen momentum swing very much towards the Conservatives. In fact, some believe there are legitimate questions beginning to permeate the Labour party about the credibility of Miliband going forward.
"From Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper on the front bench, to the farthest reaches of the backbenches, Labour members must now be worrying about their leader and his capacity to turn the tables on Mr Cameron," the Telegraph concluded, while Total Politics wrote that Miliband was at times "excruciating to watch," in the face of the PM's "festive ferocity".