An hour is a long time in politics. What happened after ‘Frantic Friday’

October 20, 2022

Wednesday, 19 October, 2022

Today is only the third PMQs since Liz Truss began her ill-fated Premiership. Since then, her original plan has been hung drawn and quartered, by market reaction, and this week by her replacement Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt. I prepared my notes expecting to record a period of calm after the recent events starting on ‘Frantic Friday’. I seriously misunderstood the situation.

My summary notes are abbreviated, but capture the general tenor of a noisy Prime Minister’s Questions. They start with the questions to the PM from opposition MPs with Shadow PM Kier Starmer granted six.

Why didn’t she lose her job, as well as the chancellor losing his?

I’ve made mistakes, and apologised.

Keir Starmer began with a well crafted question. A book being written about her is said to be Out by Christmas. Is that the title of the book, or a prediction of her Premiership?

PM I am prepared to take tough decisions.

What’s the point of promises that don’t last a week?

PM I think the house needs recognition of financial reality. (Ironic cheers)

Why trust the Tories again?

PM We are going to rescue the railways.

Why is she still here?

PM I am a fighter not a quitter.

Will she confirm pension support? 
I don’t know what he’s talking about. (Raucous laughter)

Will the PM confirm pensions will rise by 10.1%?

PM We will care of the most vulnerable. No question of the triple lock being threatened (another major policy change, from the one by announced the newly appointed Chancellor, yesterday).

My immediate reaction

I don’t know what I expected. The PM has been coached to show fighting spirit since her appearance yesterday. But the show lacked high drama. Yesterday’s uncertainties over pensions were swept aside. 

To me, the overall mood felt rather simulated.  I might have been watching an end-of-season football match between two fatigued teams. Or actors completing an unsuccessful run in a near-empty matinee house.

But then …

Within a hour of PMQs, a meeting planned for later in the afternoon with an electronics company was cancelled. The PM was expected to answer journalists’ questions. No immediate explanation was offered for the cancellation.

Stop press

An hour is a long time in politics. Home Secretary Suella Braverman resigns over a ‘genuine mistake’ involving a security lapse. The government has had four chancellors and three Home Secretaries in two months. 

The PM’s fight for survival seems increasingly a futile one.

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George Osborne and Joe Root strengthen their cases as future national leaders

July 12, 2015

This week two leaders and their possible successors were tested. Alistair Cook opened the batting for England in Cardiff, and David Cameron started for the Government at Westminster

Here are my notes made at the time, [8th July 2015] which have been slightly edited for clarity purposes.

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