PMQs: Ed nicks it, borrowing from Ronan Keating

Miliband won the main event, petty though it was. But Dave came into his own as the backbenchers took their turn

Miliband does karaoke?
Alex Wickham, UK Politics Editor
On 30 January 2013 13:19

Today was the day that Ed Miliband finally revealed the inspiration behind his warped politics: The man whose dulcet tones a young Ed listened to for guidance in his formative years; the man whose words of distorted wisdom have had such a profound effect on his philosophy.

And just who is this political heavyweight? A great Labour figure from days of yore, perhaps? A celebrated socialist thinker such as his father?

No. This afternoon Ed decided to quote none other than Ronan Keating at the despatch box.

Miliband led on the economy, serenading the Prime Minister with the charge that “he promises a better tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes”.

It all got a bit Louis Walsh as Dave and Ed descended into a rather camp to-and-fro. The puffy-cheeked Speaker had to intervene when Tory backbencher Michael Ellis got all hot under the collar, rather rudely enquiring of the Northampton MP: “you are a distinguished barrister, would you behave like that in the courts?”

The one thing we can probably be safe to assume is that Ed won’t go the same way as Ronan and leave Justine for a backing dancer. He says it best when he says nothing at all.

When it came to the crux of the debate Miliband rather lazily relied on his little red book of nauseating catchphrase clichés. The PM is “extraordinarily complacent” apparently, and the “part-time Chancellor” doesn’t recognise that “it’s hurting but it isn’t working”.

These lines may seem tired to Westminster watchers but they will resonate with the electorate. Last week’s terrible GDP figures have all but neutralised any bounce Cameron may have garnered from his in/out EU referendum pledge.

Miliband won the main event, petty though it was. But Dave came into his own as the backbenchers took their turn.

His put-down to George Galloway was a classic: “wherever there is a brutal Arab dictator he can be sure to count on the support of the Honourable Member”.

But the best moment of today’s session came from Labour’s Alex Cunningham, who asked: “can the Prime Minister confirm that traces of stalking horse have been found in the Conservative food chain?”

Even Dave roared with laughter. As smiles spread around the House the PM caught the eye of his Deputy. For a brief split second there was a moment of mutual warmth, before Cameron suddenly remembered his betrayal at the hands of Nick Clegg less than 24 hours before.

Their body language will fascinate hacks and sketch-writers alike over the coming weeks and months. Let the coldness continue.

Alex Wickham is The Commentator's UK Political Editor and a reporter at the Guido Fawkes website. He tweets at @WikiGuido

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