Like an agitated 15th century Pope, David Cameron reverted to 'Flashman' type in PMQs today

Our columnist asked a simple question in the Chamber earlier today. The answer he received was pure obfuscation. What does that say about the Tory leader?

Share

We all know that the Prime Minister sometimes suffers from the pink rage; that a mist descends upon him, he throws caution and geniality to the winds and snaps back at MPs in his weekly ordeal in the Chamber of the Commons. Some call it Flashman. It reminds me more of the girl in the old Clarks ad who said "my mother tells me that when I grow up I’m going to be a proper little madam". But today the Prime Minister surpassed himself as he flailed around in response to a simple question from me.

All I wanted to know was why he is refusing to publish all the texts, emails and other forms of communication between him, Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and the Murdochs. Is it because they are too salacious and embarrassing for him, or because there is one rule for him and another for the rest of us? After all, all Jeremy Hunt’s special adviser Adam Smith’s texts and emails were handed over to the Leveson Inquiry and he resigned. So how can Cameron blithely refuse to publish all his interactions, especially since the terms of reference for Leveson include the relations between politicians and newspapers?

Extraordinary

I had thought Cameron might respond by saying that there is no such stash of material. But he didn’t. Nor has his office denied its existence on any of the countless opportunities they’ve now had. So I can only conclude that there is more material that Cameron doesn’t want us to see it, that he has not given to Leveson and that the public have a right to see.

The most extraordinary thing, though, is that Cameron point blank refused to answer my question and declared, like an angry and agitated fifteenth century pope, that he will not deign to answer any questions from me until I have apologised for what I said about him in Parliament earlier this year on 21 April - when I pointed out that Rupert Murdoch’s initial list of meetings with Cameron provided to Leveson was rather longer than Cameron’s list of meetings with Murdoch. It seemed that Murdoch had a better memory than Cameron. As it turned out I had rather jumped the gun. Leveson had not yet published Murdoch’s evidence and Rupert subsequently amended it – so I apologised to the House of Commons on 9 May.

But the real giveaway is that Cameron has used this trick before. On 25 June he refused to answer a question from me about the murder of Sergei Magnitsky – and said he would not do so until I apologised – completely ignoring the fact that I have apologised. Everyone was outraged at the time, but like most Cameron positions this one didn’t last. On 27 June he did answer me, about the Arms Treaty, and on 12 September he replied again when I asked about women’s redundancies and the lack of women in the Cabinet.

Hypocrisy

So I can only conclude that it was the nature of today’s question that really wound him up and he knew that he had no better answer than to obfuscate.

I could of course get all hoity toity back with him. After all the whole point of parliament is that MPs get to put ministers on the spot and the Commons resolved in March 1997 that ministers ‘should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest.’ That phrase is even part of Cameron’s own ministerial Code.

But the truth is that he has proved not just that he’s a bit of a bully, but that he’s hiding something. And in the end it’ll all come out whether he chooses to answer me in the chamber or not.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron has reiterated his pre-election promise to radically improve the NHS  

How can we save the NHS? Rediscover the stiff upper lip

Jeremy Laurance
 

Thanks to Harriet Harman, Labour is holding its own against the Tory legislative assault

Isabel Hardman
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor