Peter Hoskin

A PMQs to damage Brown?

A PMQs to damage Brown?
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A quick tour around the political blogoshpere, and it seems everyone is saying Brown came out on top in today's PMQs.  For what it's worth, I'd agree with them – but only to a point.  On the one hand, Cameron was unusually clumsy, which allowed Brown to land some pretty decent blows.  But, on the other, I suspect some of those blows won't play well on TV later.  And, let's not forget, the entire point of PMQs, from the leaders' perspectives, is to score some coverage on the Ten 'O' Clock News.  

It all depends on what the broadcasters pick up on.  If it's Brown's gag that the Tories' IHT policy was "dreamed up on the playing fields of Eton", then it will hardly reflect well on the PM.  This clumsy, class-based politics didn't do Labour much good during the Crewe & Nantwich byelection, and it rather undermines Brown's frequent claim – frequently made in PMQs, that is – that he concentrates on politics, while Cameron concentrates on personality.  Throw in Brown's G20 gaffe, and suddenly this PMQs session doesn't look all that rosy for him, after all.

If I were one of Brown's coterie, I'd be hoping that the broadcasters highlight his "The more he talks, the less he says" jibe against Cameron.  As James said a couple of days ago, the Tories could still do much more to fill out their policy package, to present a positive front to voters.  Attacks on that particular weakness may have greater traction.