Ware izzee!" Labour cried in fury. They were wanting Vince "We're All Bonkers" Cable and he wasn't there. He was malingering in the North, cowering in a factory, hiding from the wrath.
The Opposition had been granted a spurious Urgent Question by the Speaker so the Left could enjoy the Coalition split caused by the Beecroft Report. This venture capitalist recommends that bosses use hardworking employees for footstools, pin cushions and body parts. Or something.
Chuka Umunna stood up so grandly he made Chris Leslie behind him look like crumpled middle management. Yvette Cooper became pinched and peaky. Tall, graceful, easy – fractionally too bald perhaps – Chuka opened his commanding mouth and said: "Wot a complete an' utter shambles."
His leadership odds faltered a bit. He's a magnificent bottle but the contents need a little more body. Still, time is on his side. The report had been "promoted" by the PM, he said, but described as "bonkers" by Vince. He made a conspiracy point that the department had been secretly complicit. The ministerial substitute Mark Prisk laughed. Complicit? He'd commissioned the jolly thing! As for bonkers, he told us what was bonkers and what Vince agreed was bonkers – the Working Time directive that stopped people earning money, unbonkingbelievable!
Prisk was popped out of the Decent Tory mold – polite, regimental, with a ringing voice. The problem he caused was in denying us the sight of Vince wriggling.
Amber Rudd produced an interesting statistic – that 50 per cent of the FTSE 500 was set up during recessions. And Liz Truss said that when Germany cut out employment regulation, the result was more jobs. You can imagine that happening – reducing tenants' rights brings more rental properties onto the market.
Labour's Pat McFadden put his finger on a flaw – you can't claim credit for 600,000 new jobs and then say there's a huge problem. But actually you can; if you can't ride two horses you shouldn't be in the circus.