PMQs 14 December 2011

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 14/12/11 11:18 Updated: 14/12/11 13:05

Pmqs
PMQs Looks Set To Be Dominated By This Morning's Jobs Figures

PMQs exchanges between David Cameron and Ed Miliband were dominated by sharply rising unemployment and the ongoing row about Europe, but it ended up being a fairly disastrous lunchtime for Ed Miliband, who was bested by the PM on gags and substance.

It didn't help him that everyone knew exactly what Labour's plan of attack was going to be, after their media strategy was leaked to The Times earlier this week.

Ed Miliband attempted to criticise the PM's failure to curb unemployment, but didn't really offer a substantive alternative. But the real problems came when the Labour leader switched tack and started on the coalition gripes over Cameron's veto of the European treaty to stabilise the Eurozone.

It's true that Nick Clegg - in the chamber for PMQs after failing to turn up for the statement on the veto , looked miserable, but David Cameron came back with better gags against Miliband, saying, "it could be worse, at least we're not brothers." to huge Tory cheers and jeers.

Despite another terrible set of jobs figures out this morning, David Cameron's had a boost for the Tories in the opinion polls and waning popularity for Ed Miliband. Despite things remaining bad in the economy, the Labour leader appears to be failing to win the trust of voters with his alternatives to the Tory plan.

Cameron's finale against Miliband - suggesting that every backbench Labour MP wanted a new leader for Christmas, was stinging and clearly annoyed the Labour leader. Ed Miliband doesn't seem to be able to muster the kind of roaring support among his MPs
that Cameron can, and this is telling for anyone sitting in the House of Commons for the weekly PMQs session.

Here's a recap of some of the highlights from today's PMQs:

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General consensus of the Twitterati seems to be that Cameron thumped Miliband soundly this week, with better gags and a flaying narrative of what Labour has been saying on the economy and Europe.

The only thing that can comfort Ed Miliband is that Nick Clegg is clearly even more miserable. The Deputy Prime Minister looks despondent and apprehensive.

Ed Miliband needs to go away and rethink how he comes at PMQs over Christmas. He should be doing better and the whole House of Commons knows it.

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@ j_freedland : No Xmas cheer for Labour. A clear win for Cam in PMQs, and polls showing Tories ahead.

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@ IanDunt : Standard anti-sexism formation of three women behind Cameron for #pmqs http://t.co/4hF1DpAI

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He says the Labour policy can be summed up in four words - Let's bankrupt Britain again.

That's four. Worrying.

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@ paulwaugh : Clegg finally smiling as Cam sticks it to EdM with Scotland and Santa jibes. But swiftly returned to sombre grimace. #PMQs.

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@ petersbeaumont : PMQs today like a bleeding panto but with worse jokes

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@ benedictbrogan : Every EdM sally rebuffed by Dave. 'Born to rule' line flops. PM gets last word with Labour wants new leader for Xmas #leadershipcrisis #pmqs

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@ MirrorJames : Panto season at #pmqs - and its a belter

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@ IanDunt : Cameron: 2 Miliband: 1 http://t.co/4hF1DpAI #pmqs

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@ SophyRidgeSky : Three women positioned behind PM for #pmqs and three women in row behind too - in line of TV cameras?

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@ paulwaugh : RT@danielbyles: "Fire up the Quattro". Life on Mars Gene Hunt actor in Special Gallery watching PMQs>Thinking "You Muppet!"?

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Lots of pretty tame questions on alcohol pricing and citizens advice bureaux. Couple of pointed questions about Teeside airport and another one from Sheryll Murray on immigration, but the chamber is pretty flat.

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Shame Ed M wasn't able to do as well as he did on Monday. It was a very recycled exchange by both leaders, but the noise in the chamber gives Cameron another edge. Labour MPs are keen to jeer at Clegg, who is in trouble, but they can't cheer as loudly for Miliband as the Tories do for Cameron.

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Not sure what the question is, basically Ed M is accusing the PM of failing on Europe.

PM comes back saying Ed M's record in 2011 has been terrible, and that every Labour MP wants a new leader for Christmas.

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The speaker has called for calm and it's given Ed M a chance to gather himself because the Tories were all over the last "brothers" gag from Cameron and it seemed to sting the Labour leader.

"What's your answer?" Cameron asks and is told off by the Speaker, who technically everyone is supposed to be addressing.

Cameron just laughs it off.

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Jeers as Ed M says it's good to see Clegg in the chamber.

He's seizing on another statement from the start of the year which said: "Coalition politics is not always straightforward, but I believe we are bringing in a whole new style of government."

Cam comes back saying coaliton politics, but "It's not that bad, it's not as if we're brothers or anything."

That's a win for a Cameron, Tories on the backbenches love it.

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He switches to youth unemployment, which is still awful.

PM says he won't take lectures from Labour who allowed youth unemployment to rocket.

(Sense of Deja Vu now, we had this exact same argument last month)

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Are 13 jobs being lost in the public sector for every one in the private sector?

PM: basically admits that's true. But insists that whoever was in power would have to shed public sector jobs.

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Ed M points out in the PM's new year message 12 months ago, Cameron said his top priority for the year would be jobs. So what's Gen wrong?

PM: It's a tragedy that jobless numbers are rising, but we are introducing apprenticeships and the Work Programme.

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Richard Fuller asks if Sir Fred Goodwin should have been prosecuted?

PM: We are looking at extra measures on this, but it's Gordon Brown and Ed Balls' fault as well

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First PMQ comes from Richard Fuller.

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Meanwhile Lib Dem Simon Huges is being jeered so much nobody can understand a word he is saying.

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Jeers and cheers from Labour. Clegg's appearance in the chamber wont be pleasant for him. But he has a nice new haircut.

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Some interesting MPs here. Blunkett should be box office, Thomas Docherty is a Labour euro sceptic. Yes, they still exist.

Richard Fuller (Bedford):   Mr David Blunkett (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough): Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield): Mrs Jenny Chapman (Darlington): Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall John Robertson (Glasgow North West): Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering): Chris Kelly (Dudley South) Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline and West Fife): Mr Kevin Barron (Rother Valley): George Eustice (Camborne and Redruth): Mr Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway): David Rutley (Macclesfield):

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead):

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@ GuidoFawkes : As Ed M rehearses his PMQs sound bites now - dropping the "out of touch" line in light of the polls - a crushing fear is rising in him...

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