James Forsyth James Forsyth

Britain at its best

Matt in his Sunday Telegraph column sums up perfectly why it was right that PMQs was suspended following Ivan Cameron’s death: 

“This was our unwritten constitution at its very best, as the Commons responded with nimble common sense to a practical dilemma presented by a private tragedy. It would have been grotesque to proceed with Prime Minister’s Questions only a few hours after the death of young son of the Leader of the Opposition.

The properly British solution was not to pore over Erskine May or to fret about setting a precedent, or sliding down a slippery slope. Does anyone seriously believe these extraordinary circumstances are likely to recur? As so often in our institutional history, the right answer was to extemporise judiciously. It is a part of the genius of this nation, our capacity for gentle and dignified improvisation: the seemly ad hoc, so to speak. The Prime Minister and Speaker grasped this immediately, and all credit to them for doing so.” The speeches that were made on Wednesday in the Commons, I think, helped all of us place politics in its proper perspective. There are, obviously, considerable differences between the parties on policy but it is crucial that our politicians never forget our common humanity. 

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