PMQs: Harman bores the crowd into longing for Ed

With David Cameron in Mexico, it was up to William Hague and Harriet Harman to duke it out at PMQs. Sadly, the latter made sure this was never to be a classic, writes our UK Political Editor, Harry Cole

How often do you hear people begging Ed to come back?
Harry Cole
On 20 June 2012 12:08

Fifteen years after he stood up at Prime Minister's Questions as Leader of the Opposition, Foreign Secretary William Hague finally got the chance to answer the questions today.

Standing in for David Cameron, we were anticipating that rapier wit and quick fire reaction that defined Hague’s old bouts with Blair and what his fans say would have made him a brilliant Prime Minister.

However, it wasn’t good news. Due to the PM being away, convention dictates that Labour had to stand down Miliband meaning that Harriet Harman was forced down our throats. 

Seeking to pour water on any chance of a decent debate Harman set the agenda with a spectacularly dull round of questions on Aung San Suu Kyi and cataract operations. Snore!

Seemingly sensing this was turning into a dull fest, Hague went into stand up mode, but it wasn’t enough to save the day.

Kicking the Shadow Chancellor for commissioning opinion polls about the public perception of him, we had a rare glint of vintage Hague. He was good, but if it means we have to have Harman as well, I think most would pass.

Not wanting to be out down, Harman made the terrible mistake of trying to be funny too. Throwing in a tired old “LOL” reference in a comeback was patted away with ease, and even Harman seemed to be laughing. If she thinks that her benches were laughing with her though then she’s as deluded as she is irritating.

The only news snippet we got came when Tory backbench stirrer Peter Bone demanded that his “preferred Deputy Prime Minister... divorce from yellow peril”. He asked Hague to instigate a minority Tory government. When he refused, it was mostly the Liberal Democrats on the government benches cheering. With their poll rating at the moment, coalition is their only option.

A subdued affair, Hague remains very popular on his side and Harman is terribly out of her depth. Come back Dave and Ed, all is forgiven. Anything but more sneering, hectoring and grating from Harman.

Harry Cole is the UK Political Editor for The Commentator. He tweets at @MrHarryCole where you can catch up on his musings as well as his work for the Guido Fawkes blog

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