James Forsyth

PMQs: Labour attacks Cameron as the leader of a ‘Dickensian Britain’

PMQs: Labour attacks Cameron as the leader of a 'Dickensian Britain'
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PMQs started off in a very consensual manner as Ed Miliband asked some worthy questions on Afghanistan. But this quickly changed when Miliband moved onto food banks. The Labour leader attempted to paint food banks as a consequence of the coalition’s policies. When Cameron mentioned the ‘Big Society’, Miliband shot back that ‘I never thought the Big Society was about feeding children here in Britain.’

A string of Labour MPs then made similar attacks on Cameron. One even waved a suicide note left by a constituent affected by changes to disability benefits. The question is whether the picture of, to quote one Labour MP, a Dickensian Britain with ‘grandeur for the few, the workhouse for the many’ rings true. I don’t think it does.

One sub-plot of PMQs today was Andrew Mitchell. He stood at the bar of the House, looking more like his old self and talking to various friends. His body language, though, gave little away as his treatment by the police was raised with Cameron by the Tory backbencher Rob Wilson.