The Sketch: Just two things put Cameron off doing fluent PM

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The Independent Online

We're still feeling our way around this Prime Minister. Does he have a weakness at the dispatch box? There's that hesitation at the start. Ed Miliband asked another short first question: "How is his Big Society going?" and David Cameron went: "I believe – I believe – I actually believe." If the Labour whips could organise a wall of derision it could be built into one of those gaps.

The trouble is that it isn't a real hesitation. It's a sincerity pause, put in by the computer in Cameron's brain to make him look more realistic. Miliband won't get through the armour that way.

The Prime Minister does turn pink and indignant quite easily, and so it looks as if it might be quite easy to rile him. That gave Miliband his best line: "He shouldn't get so angry; it'll cloud his judgement; he's not the first prime minister I've said that to." We do like a bit of Brown-bashing. But it is observational stuff, and it is not going to make Cameron look bad if he is getting worked up about volunteering and things "the whole House is united over".

George Osborne could be a weakness. During the PM's second answer, the Chancellor interrupted to say: "They would have got nothing out of the banks." Cameron dutifully repeated it, but he won't have liked it, not one little bit. He's got a computer in his brain that can do fluent prime minister: he doesn't need a prompter. Yet he was in difficulty with questions from his own party. Julian Lewis accused him of misleading Conservative MPs when the Coalition deal was struck over the future of Trident. After the Speaker allowed extra time to make up for his own pompous interventions, the steel of Essex Priti Patel spoke about the issue that really animates Tory MPs: giving the vote to criminals.

The only Labour MPs to mark the non-stick surface were John Woodcock, who backed Trident, and David Cairns, who called him "weak on anti-social behaviour, reckless on terrorism and soft on crime". There is the lesson for Ed Miliband: Cameron is vulnerable only from the right or on the economy. Who can see any problems with either of those?



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