James Forsyth James Forsyth

Despite Miliband’s best efforts, Cameron still has the upper hand at PMQs

Ed Miliband is still trying to keep his reasonable tone going at PMQs. He led on Syria, pushing David Cameron on the government’s refusal to join in a UN resettlement scheme. Cameron argued that given how many refugees the Syrian conflict had created, a resettlement scheme could only ever deal with a tiny part of the problem. Labour, though, were not happy with Cameron’s answers and will hold a Commons vote on the matter next Wednesday to try and force the government into changing its position.

But when Miliband moved onto the economy, he found it far more difficult to keep his tone civil. Tories cheered him saying unemployment had fallen while a confident Cameron took every chance to remind Miliband of just how positive the figures were. This prompted the rather Punch and Judy line from Miliband that Cameron was doing ‘his Bullingdon Club routine.’

In the end though, it is the economic facts giving Cameron the upper hand in these exchanges now. When unemployment was rising, Miliband used to win these exchanges. But now the unemployment rate is falling rapidly, Cameron does. If the economic news remains positive, Miliband is going to find these exchanges difficult regardless of the tone he adopts.

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