Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Harriet sent packing as Clegg rises to occasion

Share
Related Topics

PMQs – now with 20 per cent extra. It started on time and the Speaker eventually called off the half-hour at 12.37. Every time Nick Clegg thought he'd done the course, another name was called: the finish line receding with every step he took.

It's a record of some sort, and the Speaker being as he is, you assume there's a reason for overrunning – probably something to do with his loathing of Tories. Clegg being in an unnatural relationship with them would be accounted a particularly scaly beast. In the event, he did well in a stormy House against a lackluster Harriet Harman. She was haranguing him about the Health Bill (obviously) and he was belting it back in an impromptu display of rhetorical aggression. Her good line had been prepared earlier: "The only thing he stands up for is when the Prime Minister walks in the room"; it was rebutted by an entirely unconnected line also prepared earlier. Ed Miliband had called in sick, so an NHS rally had been cancelled and he'd gone to the football instead. It's not much of a line, now I look at it but it didn't have to be.

The most revealing exchange suggested that Labour may be losing the argument on the Health Bill. Clegg gave her three bite-sized facts to chew on: 1) Labour was wanting to spend less on the NHS than the Coalition. 2) Sweetheart deals with the private sector were now illegal. 3) There was a new statutory duty to reduce health inequalities.

Ms Harman's glorious response was: " Absolute RUBBISH!" It was like seeing a gender stereotype in action. Clegg also dealt elegantly with Peter Lilley and pleasantly with Dennis Skinner (something Cameron mishandled the other week). He has the stamina and the resilience.

Maybe the Coalition will do more than survive to the 2015 general election. Maybe it'll be recreated when the results come in.

React Now

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

ICT Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified ...

DT Design and Technology Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently for ...

Maths Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienc...

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

Day In a Page

 

Naturism criminalised: Why not being able to bare all is a bummer

Simon Usborne
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on