Has Gord found the secret to PMQs – at last?

Has Gord found the secret to PMQs – at last?

Is an Iraq visit preferable to facing Dave?

This maybe totally unfair – but yet again Gordon Brown was away from PMQs and we had to endure a tedious session with Harriet Harman and an off-form William Hague.

The thought passed through my mind and to other astute Westminster watchers who I have spoken to this afternoon that Brown might have found a strategy to cut down his appearances at PMQs.

Firstly there parliamentary year has been cut back sharply so there will be fewer PMQ sessions anyway. Then there are the repeated times when he happens to be “doing something else” on a Wednesday so Harriet has to step in. If that happens then why can’t it be switched to another day – dead simple really.

I have not added it up but I bet that the number of PMQ sessions that Gord is doing is fewer than Blair and the latest tactics seem to be reducing the numbers even further.

Labour has form on this. Until Blair came to power in May 1997 the prime minister had to face the house twice a week. That was cut down to one and now even that seems to be being restricted.

There are big issues at stake here. PMQs is a key mechanism by which the Prime Minister is accountable – reducing the number of time he bothers to take it is undermining that principle.

Our cartoon is by Marf of LondonSketchbook.com

Mike Smithson

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