Diary: How Ed dreads giving Dave a PMQ pasting

 

Ed Miliband has spoken about the "nightmare" that is Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons. It is a complaint from every new party leader. Each arrives in office determined that PMQs will be more constructive and less confrontational, only to be carried along by the atmosphere in an over-excited chamber into joining the verbal punch-ups.

"It's a terrible advert for politics, and encourages the view that we are a bunch of school kids shouting at each other," the Labour leader, right, has told the Jewish Chronicle.

Coincidentally, his remarks appeared on the same day his party went on to the attack, complaining that David Cameron is absenting himself from too many of these contests.

The Prime Minister will not be in the Commons on Wednesday, 14 March, because he is visiting Washington. Added to that, Conservative business managers have now suggested that the Commons should sit on Friday 23 March, and cancel the following Wednesday's sitting, sparing Cameron another bout.

Michael Dugher, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, has loyally suggested that Cameron is "running scared" because Miliband has become such a terrifying opponent.

"David Cameron has had a series of shocking PMQs," he said. "Faced with relentless pressure from Ed Miliband on the NHS, Cameron has floundered badly. It seems Cameron's response to his recent pastings is to try to dodge Prime Minister's Questions. Cameron may be running scared."

Or maybe, like Ed Miliband, the Prime Minister thinks it is all "a terrible advert for politics".

Joker Gove isn't a spoil sport after all

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, had a gag to lighten up his speech at a parliamentary press lunch yesterday. He said that he wanted to dispel the view that he was anti-sport, after the fiasco of his abandoned attempt to end targeted funding for school sports. He has been learning about football, and has discovered that Alex Ferguson has decided to drop Wayne Rooney and replace him with Colleen because "Alex has heard that these days it's the wife who takes the penalties."

Clegg loses adviser who called PM 'fake'

Nick Clegg has just lost one of his most experienced and smartest advisers. Chris Saunders, an Oxford graduate and former lobbyist, was until last week the Deputy Prime Minister's economics adviser. Previously he did the same job for Vince Cable. He was also named in a cable published by WikiLeaks as one of the advisers who in March 2009 told a political counsellor at the US embassy that David Cameron was "fake", "out of touch" and had an "insulated, upper-class persona". It would be interesting to ask whether working in Downing Street changed his opinion of the Prime Minister, but the message on his voicemail says he will be out of the country until August.

Democracy doesn't pay for the Maldives

During an online question and answer session in November, David Cameron described Mohamed Naseed, the first elected President of the Maldive Islands, as "my new best friend – he's great!" The Prime Minister has not elaborated since his "best friend" was forced out of office two weeks ago, but new figures from the Department for International Development give an insight into Britain's commitment to the Maldives during the two-and-a-half years when they were ruled by someone democratically elected.

The Maldives used to receive quite generous British aid during the 30-year rule of Abdul Gayoom, peaking at £807,557 in 2004-5 – not bad for a state with a population below 105,000. Under President Nassed, they received no aid at all, except a one-off payment of £150,000 towards the cost of hosting an international conference on climate change.

"DfID no longer has a bilateral aid programme in the Maldives, and there are no plans to initiate one," said the minister Alan Duncan.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering