29/10/2011 Newswatch


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Under what circumstances would the US take military action against


Iraq and our country would not support them? I would like to talk


about the circumstances where we would support them. The UN


resolution would say that Saddam has to disarm himself. If there was


a breach of that resolution we would support military action to


make sure that the will of the UN would be an force. Did he feel you


were getting somewhere when his DUP Toorak? Yes. It was important to


stick wet, partly for internal party management meetings.


Everybody was pressing Tony Blair about whether he would go in and


when. The question, are there circumstances when you would not


going, that was the question. You could see the Labour benches


keening to find the answer. It was a question he could not possibly


answer. Did he get a sense that you were doing the right thing by


sticking to the same subject week after week. Yes, a senior Cabinet


minister came up to me after it PMQs. It was easier for me, because


Iain Duncan Smith was leader of the Conservatives. He declared his hand


almost before seeing the evidence. He said it was totally persuasive,


and that was it. Wherever Tony Blair-led, the Conservatives would


follow. A senior Cabinet minister Qamar and said to me, Charlie - you


keep asking those questions because you are asking some of those


questions we would like to asking Cabinet but dare not. What was your


job in those vital hours before Prime Minister's Questions


happened? Our job was two per pair for the answers that may be asked.


We had to anticipate the issues from the range of topics. And we


had to do what Michael said he was thinking of doing. Thinking of


lines for the Prime Minister to making seem Prime Ministerial.


was going on and the rival camp as Leader of the Opposition? We also


planning tactics and rehearsing scenes? I never went in for the


play acting. I probably should have done. You try to think ahead about


the most likely subjects. Which ones offer the greatest potential.


On the morning of PMQs, you clear the morning and think of the best


questions to ask. You're selected an unexpected event at PMQs in 2004.


It came as the Tory leader was asking Tony Blair if he would serve


a full term as Prime Minister. Isn't it the case that the most


senior member of his own Cabinet, the two people he is sitting


between now have stitched him up like a kipper? It is interesting


how the right and honourable gentleman never wants to discuss


the issues. I wonder why. Order. This house is now suspended. There


we are. Ending PMQs rather abruptly. Purple powder was thrown by a


priest. That must have been frightening. That was the only


occasion in 20 years where PMQs was stopped and did not go back. We


debated during that time whether we should go back and complete it. We


did not have the ability to do that at this stage. It goes back to why


we have PMQs. The democracy of the argument. Some MPs were quite


shaken what had happened, not knowing what it was. This is


probably telling tales out of school. It was immediately dealt


with by the security services, jackets off. I was left at the side.


That was the pecking order at the time. It is not fair. The Speaker


tells us again and again that the public does not like these rowdy


scenes. Teasing he is right? I am not sure he is. I suspect a large


number of people relish them. Charles Kennedy, does it need to


quieten down? It does quite a lot of the time, even during PMQs. The


most heated tents to be the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime


Minister. The Leader of the Opposition has six questions. If he


wants to deploy all six on the same subject that develops into way


tennis match. The Lib Dem leader gets to questions but everyone else


has one. In the present Coalition the Lib Dem leader is not asking


any questions which means that PMQs now lacks that second highlight the


Nick Easter having your day. think it has lost something?


Backbench Lib Dems are encouraged to stand up and ask questions. The


speaker wants to spread the party balance around. But they cannot be


too critical because they are part of the Coalition government. So


they are slightly stymied. When we were in opposition, when it was


conventional one-party government, you were very dependent on what the


leader of the Conservative Party did. I would have to have two or


three sets of questions, knowing that tuition fees might be the


issue of the day. You have that six questions on tuition fees. What am


I go in to say for the 7th or 8th question which gives me a twist to


get into the Six O'clock News. If I go into something else I will


probably drop the age. Yours staff was deliberately combat it in


contrast to your predecessor. It wasn't a deliberate policy? It is


the nearest thing to amount combat that we have. -- disarmed combat.


David Cameron has come back to a pretty, Basij treatment. -- combat


its treatment. Did David Cameron get nervous? He had a fear of the


Commons at all times. We do not know how it will go, how our own


side will react, what questions will be asked. That tension is


always there. The House of Commons is the most unpredictable audience


in the world. You never know how it is going to react. I could think I


had a cracking series of questions which would fall flat. I could go


in with ordinary questions and it would take off. It is a very


unpredictable audience. And the prepared jokes sums times do not


work and the off-the-cuff jokes do. It is a strange as it. It has


lasted for 50 years. Do you think it will go on for the next 50?


think it will stay as it is now. It is comeback kid, testing the Prime


Minister, asking questions. This will be here as long as the House


of Commons. A distinguished parliamentary commentator, Norman


shrapnel, said that too much silence was more ominous than too


much noise in a parliamentary democracy. I come down on the size


of noise rather than silence. I first came into the House of


Commons I remember being told by an experienced colleague on outside


that when we would complain about the noise, tell them to remember


that we are carrying out our arguments in here instead of


fighting in the streets. Thank you very much indeed. Some thoughts on


the worth of Prime Minister's Questions On the Record Review. A


flavour of the exchanges between David Cameron and Ed Miliband as


they play a share the Euro. speaks for the government? It is no


wonder that his backbenchers say there is not clarity over the


government position. The committee said the government's position was


not sustainable. Is it his position to get out of the social chapter?


It is these Coalition that has worked together to get us out of


the bail-out fund. To get us out of the Greek bail out. The split that


we have is between the right honourable gentleman and reality.


David Cameron and Ed Miliband trading blows after a week when the


eurozone financial crisis concentrated minds both at


This weekend the wind will be strong across north-western areas.


It is south-westerly and that will bring mild air across the UK for


the end of October. This weather front is pushing through Scotland


and Northern Ireland. It will move through Northern England, Wales and


south-west England during the day. It is accompanied by strong winds,


possibly gale-force. Through the night, the weather front moves


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