PMQs verdict: two ends of a pantomime horse

Today's PMQs had a Christmas-special feel
Today's PMQs had a Christmas-special feel
Adam Bienkov By

In recent months, prime minister's questions has slipped into almost meditation-like repetition, with Ed Miliband asking slight variations on questions about the cost of living and David Cameron answering with slight variations on his attack on Labour's record in government.

The answers given have borne almost no relation to the questions asked, but it doesn't seem to matter. There is an almost comforting soap opera like consistency to these sessions. The topics occasionally change, but the format almost always remains the same.

But like other daytime soaps, PMQs required a Christmas special. And just like all other Christmas specials, this one had several weak attempts to make seasonal gags about poultry and Christmas cards.

"You don't need it to be Christmas to know when you're sitting next to a turkey" said Cameron at one point pointing towards Ed Balls.

"That is a turkey of an answer" replied Ed Miliband, seemingly forgetting that bad jokes are even less funny when told a second time.

"He's cut taxes for his Christmas card list and let the rest sink or swim" Miliband tried again, apparently forgetting that seasonal gags about Christmas cards are generally ruined by including metaphors about people drowning.

But while Miliband's bad Christmas-related gags failed, Cameron's bad Christmas-related gags at least appeared off the cuff.

"The honourable gentleman always brings a flavour of pantomime to our proceedings," Cameron joked after one particularly theatrical question from Labour MP Stephen Pound.

Of course in the House of Commons it's pantomime season all year round and today's session was no different.

The half hour began with cheers of "more" when Ed Miliband welcomed new employment figures and there were groans and shouts of "creep" as Conservative MP Therese Coffey wished the speaker and his family Merry Christmas.

But at least with a real pantomime the kids in the audience all seem to enjoy themselves. With today's PMQs it's hard to see, who apart from the cast will have had a good time.

Christmas verdict: All the gags were bad, but Cameron at least knew how to deliver them. David Cameron - 2, Ed Miliband - 0.


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