James Forsyth

Clegg’s debut

Clegg's debut
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John Bercow will need to be in good voice today. For this is the first time that Nick Clegg has stood in for David Cameron at PMQs and he is bound to get an almighty barracking from the Labour side.

At the moment, Labour MPs seem to reserve nearly all their disdain and anger for the Lib Dems. Nick Clegg’s appearances at the Despatch Box are a cue for Labour MPs to shout 'traitor' and jeer at him repeatedly. Jack Straw, the wiliest of politicians, is bound to try and make today an uncomfortable occasion for Clegg.

They’ll be three things I’ll be watching for today. First, how the Lib Dem benches react to these Labour attacks. Will they squirm uncomfortably in their seats or will they return fire at the Labour side? Second, what kind of backing will the Tory benches give Clegg. Will they hold their discipline if Straw starts laying into Clegg over AV? Finally, I’ll be intrigued to see who sits next to Clegg — will it be one Tory and one Lib Dem, or two Lib Dems. This might seem trivial but it will give us a clue to how much the two Coalition parties are becoming one ahead of their first full political Cabinet this Friday.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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