PMQs verdict: No change of climate of the Commons

There was no sign of a "new politics" on display at PMQs today.
There was no sign of a "new politics" on display at PMQs today.
Adam Bienkov By

There is a grimly predictable ritual that takes place in British politics whereby all party leaders declare themselves in favour of improving behaviour at prime minister's questions, while doing everything they can to encourage the opposite.

Both Ed Miliband And David Cameron publicly support toning down the weekly exchanges. Both have done next to nothing to achieve that.

Miliband to be fair to him has at least tried to appear to be taking a new approach.

Today in between accusing Cameron of speaking "total nonsense" and of appointing "climate change deniers", the Labour leader briefly took the time to agree with Cameron's support for taking action on climate change.

"I agree with what he said about the importance of climate change" claimed Miliband, clearly disappointed to have got such an unconditional declaration of support from the prime minister.

In the bizarre hyper-confrontational theatre of PMQs, any declaration of agreement is incongruous. And true to form, Cameron took it as a sign of weakness.

"This is obviously the new approach to prime minister's questions," barked a red-faced Cameron amid the din of the choreographed braying behind him.

"You come to the House of Commons and praise the prime minister for his commitment to climate change and the environment," he added, gleefully amused at the sight of somebody agreeing with him.

"I like the new style. I thought I might miss Punch and Judy. This is much more refreshing," he jeered.

So there you have it. An issue of massive global significance that could affect our very survival as a species. And yet both party leaders merely see it as an opportunity for a few more minutes of shouting at each other.

Both Cameron and Miliband have declared themselves committed to creating a "new politics" at Westminster. The evidence from today was that both remain as firmly committed to the old politics as ever.

PMQs verdict: Cameron (0), Miliband (0) No change.



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