James Forsyth

PMQs: Spouses are now considered fair game

PMQs: Spouses are now considered fair game
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David Cameron didn’t answer the question today at PMQs despite Ed Miliband repeating it five times. But in a rowdy chamber, it didn’t seem to matter as Tory MPs roared their approval at Cameron’s one liners. Cameron, in reference to Ed Balls’ disastrous slip on Newsnight last night, quipped ‘Bill Somebody is not a person, it’s Labour policy’.

Miliband wasn’t helped by how technical the question he was asking was. It, according to Labour sources, related to something called Schedule 19 which governs the taxation of share purchases made by hedge funds through investment banks. Now, Labour will argue that it illustrates their general point that the Tories are the party of ‘Mayfair hedge funds and Monaco tax avoiders’. But the glum faces on the Labour benches afterwards suggested that they didn’t think the attack had done what it needed to.

The question, though, that everyone was talking about afterwards came from Tom Blenkinsop. He asked a question that alluded to the tax affairs of Smythson, the company that Samantha Cameron works for. Cameron didn’t rise to the bait, answering without reference to his wife. But if spouses are now considered fair game this really is going to be one of the ugliest elections in memory.