Miliband sensed that attacking Cameron today would be like serving a writ on a man at his birthday party. He tried to pester the PM for ‘removing the mobility element from DLA’ but Cameron cut him down glibly. ‘The short answer is we haven’t,’ he said. They then tussled fitfully, and fruitlessly, over the wording of Clause 83 in the welfare reform bill. Cameron brought the discussion to a close by facetiously asking Miliband to congratulate the government on its readiness to listen to advice from all quarters.
After that – back to the jokes. The MP for Croydon, Gavin Barwell, asked about locating government operations in less expensive quarters than SW1 and Cameron mused on the prospect of ripping IPSA from its cosy Westminster eyrie and dropping it onto the concrete belt of outer London. When David Amess asked the him to endorse Low Salt Week, Cameron pondered aloud whether ‘the last prime minister put salt in his porridge.’ In answer to a premeditated question from Matthew Hancock about the waste written into Labour’s PFI agreements, Cameron wheeled out his best Labour chum, John Healey, the shadow health secretary. Healey always seems to bring solace to the coalition and he was quoted two days ago complaining that, ‘we were poor at PFI, and poor at negotiating PFI contracts.’ Those comments appeared in the Morning Star. ‘Whether he’s talking to a commie paper,’ said Cameron, ‘or supporting government policy he is at least consistent.’
Tonight Matthew Hancock will be quaffing champers with the chief whip for asking that planted question, and the party will be completed by Loughborough’s MP Nicky Morgan. She asked the PM to explain why Labour never understand that governments mustn’t spend money they don’t have. Cameron seized this chance to stick it to the opposition by reciting Britain’s worse-than-third-world position in various international league tables. Our administration is more wasteful than Kazakstan’s, our debt management is wobblier than Chad’s and our banking system is flakier than that overseen by our old friend the Mad Dog himself.