Thursday, 18 November 2010

Prime Minister's jokes at Commons Liaison Committee plus we may get wedding bank holiday

***NEWS FLASH*** Cameron used his summing up at the House of Commons Liaison Committee hearing which has just finished to suggest that the Government was considering a special Bank Holiday for the royal wedding, even if the Royal Family choose to hold the wedding on a Saturday.

For all serious political hacks, I'm not going to give any real political analysis here, but thought readers might be interested in some amusing asides from the PM.  To be fair, the questioning was lame (even from my side) and he is, although it pains me to say it, a very assured performer in these circumstances.  Perhaps most notable though was that Andrew Tyrie, Tory Chair of the Treasury Committee, used his main block of questions to ask about the CSR and the decision to scrap Ark Royal and Harrier.  I think it's a little remiss of him not to at least ask about an issue such as bankers' bonuses and reform of the financial sector, at a time when this is very high up the political agenda.  He really allowed Cameron off the hook on this subject.

Here are some of the more amusing/revealing/offensive (delete as appropriate) comments the PM made:

Re whether he could provide the BAe contract for the aircraft carriers to the Treasury Committee:

Cameron: “You find out in this job that you don’t make quite as many rules as you’d like.”

Re universities and science funding:

Cameron: “If ‘two brains Willetts’ can’t answer that question I don’t know what hope there is for me.”

Margaret Hodge asked whether social unrest is a price worth paying for the reductions in housing benefit?

Cameron: “People earning £20 - £25k per year who find out that their taxes are going to subside rents for unemployed people of £30, £40, £50k per year - I think that is more likely to lead to social unrest than our changes to housing benefit.”

A question from Richard Ottaway MP about where bilateral agreements such as the recent Anglo-French one fits in within the framework of multi-lateral ones:

Cameron: “We’ll get more bang for our buck, or should I say franc.  I’m sorry, I should say euro?  I don’t want to contribute any more to our euro woes!” [laughter].

Re a NATO strategy document:

Cameron: “In this job you read enough boring strategic documents which are completely impenetrable, but this one was clear” [and he told the author].

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