PMQS Sketch: Cameron Confirms He Can Be Nasty

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PMQS SKETCH
Cameron And Balls Once Again Had A Public Falling Out At PMQs | PA

Someone had cranked up the air-con up to full blast in the Commons, but it seems it was too late - the heat and humidity in London has sent the MPs all giddy and delirious. Possibly because they've got yet another recess starting on Thursday? It's not clear.

Still, quite a satisfying PMQs all-round, with some policy revelations interwoven with plenty of punch and judy. The thing everyone will remember is Ed Miliband shouting at the Tories: "The nasty party is back", only for Cameron to duly illustrate this by calling Ed Balls a "muttering idiot", a comment the Speaker made him take back.

Cameron withdrew the comment but didn't seem particularly happy about doing so. The PM was less red-faced than usual but appears sensitive to accusations from Ed Balls that he'd been drinking.

Cameron enjoys a few glasses of wine on a Sunday, we discovered the other day, making him pseudo-normal, but Ed Balls is clearly getting under the PM's skin, once again. The shadow chancellor now spends the entire half-hour of PMQs making hand-gestures and providing a running commentary, and once in a while it all gets too much for Cameron.

Tories were happy enough - PMQs was kicked off by Karen Bradley, the new secretary of the 1922 committee. She asked possibly the easiest question in the history of PMQs ever, basically parrotting IMF chief Christine Lagarde's comments about shivering at the thought of Britain's deficit. Cameron was happy to expand on the comments, just as Nick Clegg did at the Despatch Box on Tuesday.

Ed Miliband gave a boisterous performance but his jokes were pretty lame, saying the Tories thought the Beecroft report on firing everyone without warning was the "bees knees" - nobody laughed. At least Ed Miliband wasn't silly enough to mention the word "socialist", something Beecroft apparently branded Vince Cable on Tuesday.

Somewhat curiously Miliband didn't mention how Peter Cruddas gave a massive cash injection to the Tories just before he was forced to quit, and only mentioned donations to the Tories at all once Cameron had ribbed him for his union dependency.

But we did learn some useful things at PMQs as well, which are that Cameron's determined to continue to deprive prisoners the vote - something which came not from a Tory question but from DUP member Nigel Dodds.

We also heard that Cameron didn't want rubbish civil servants to get bonuses any longer - this in response to Labour's Keith Vaz's question about UK Border Agency mandarins getting paid for presiding over abject failure at Heathrow.

And most revealingly Cameron answered Lib Dem Stephen Williams' question about further stimulus head-on, saying he was in favour of it. Unfortunately it was during this question that the "muttering idiot" line blurted out, so we never got to hear the full answer.

Still, non-Tories ask questions and they actually get some answers. Not so nasty after all?