PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTIONS

SCORING THE EXCHANGES: John Prescott 6/10 John Major 4/10
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Indy Politics
Prescott rattled Major, who nearly lost his cool over tax and who rebuked the Labour deputy for finger-wagging.

PRESCOTT'S ATTACK

Prescott ingeniously combined a report showing the tax burden has risen since 1992 with the report by the Standards and Privileges committee. He asked whether the PM would `guarantee at the next general election that any promise he makes will be given on oath.' The Conservative record of 16 ministerial resignations was `the worst on record for any government in British history.' Major tried to be patronising: `I've no doubt the Hon

Member for Hartlepool would be very proud of his pupil after having heard

today's soundbite' - a reference to Peter Mandelson.

THEMES OF THE DAY

Harry Greenway (C, Ealing North) Surrendering the British veto in Europe.

Irvine Patnick (C, Sheffield Hallam) Business and Europe

Paddy Ashdown Joining the Single Currency

John Hutton (L, Normanton) Tory tax burden

Chris Mullin, (L. Sunderland South) Creeping inflence of News International

GOOD DAY..

Irvine Patnick's

question on business on Europe

allowed Major to criticise the Labour Party for pledging to sign

up to the Social Chapter `regardless of the British interest'.

Why did Harry Greenway

(C. Ealing North) score an own goal by using the word `dissemble' in a question about the British veto in Europe, a word which was used prominently in the Committee report on David Willets?

QUIP OF THE DAY

Tim Renton (C, Sussex, Mid)referred to a newspaper article by the Chancellor, headlined `Britain can be champs in Europe, like Manchester United'. John Major replied `If my honorouable friend will forgive me, I often have enough trouble with my own football team'.

UNANSWERED QUESTION

Campbell-Savours (L. Workington) managed to corner the Prime Minister over tax asking whether the government figures on

taxation `showed that far more of average family income would be paid to the Government ... yes or no'. Major said he had

already answered the question twice.

CREEP OF THE DAY

Sir David Hunt preached about the `outstanding reputation' of the Civil Service, and criticised Labour leaks, saying it `was damaging the government and Parliament'. This allowed the Prime Minister to attack recent Labour comments welcoming leaks.

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