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PMQs: Fighting suspended as leaders respond to Iraq terror

3 September 2014

1:38 PM

3 September 2014

1:38 PM

A few days ago, one would have expected the first PMQs of term to be a rowdy affair as Labour went for Cameron over the Carswell defection. But the recent, hideous events in Iraq have changed all that and today’s PMQs was instead a sober, statesmanlike affair which reflected well on both Cameron and Miliband.


The Labour leader led on ISIL’s murder of a second American journalist. As Cameron and Miliband discussed, and I use that word advisedly, the matter, the House was silent. After ISIL, Miliband turned to the government’s proposed new anti-terror measures. Interestingly, Cameron stated that relocation powers would happen. So, it seems that he is confident that he can carry the coalition on this.

The other big theme of PMQs was Scotland. The SNP MPs were behaving like over-excited schoolboys hoping to get chucked out of class, heckling Lindsay Roy as he asked Cameron a question. But, perhaps, most telling was Sir Edward Leigh’s admission that Westminster has been too complacent about this referendum. It is remarkable to think that in 15 days this country could be ended.

Carswell’s defection did surface when the Labour MP Karl Turner asked what other birthday surprises Cameron was expecting, a reference to the by-election being on the PM’s birthday. But Cameron defused the barb with humour, saying that he was hoping for lots of surprises but he didn’t want people to spoil it by saying what it was.

The real drama, though, came at the end of the session when Tory MPs lined up to stick the knife into John Bercow, openly attacking the Speaker in an unprecedented way. Here’s more from Isabel on what all that means. ​

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