PMQS: Miliband lands his punches, putting a flustered Cameron onto the ropes

An open goal for the opposition today, and Ed Miliband did not fail to dribble the ball over the line, writes our UK Political Editor Harry Cole

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Ed could be excused for feeling smug today, but the feeling won't last

With this morning’s dire GDP contraction of 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 the Leader of the Opposition looked positively radiant as the clock struck noon.

He had the bullets for his weekly duel with the Prime Minister and for the first time in months the majority of his shots hit their target. 

In his best outing at the Despatch Box since the Summer, Ed Miliband developed a theme that pride and arrogance were hindering the Prime Minister, and thus hurting the country.

It was a cute attempt to paint the Prime Minister as out of touch, but though it helped win the day it won’t really stick for long.

Miliband accused the Tories of total arrogance. But they’re hardly as arrogant as the people that got the country into this mess assuming they’ll ever be trusted to run our economy again.

Nobody wants to hear excuses. They want jobs, growth, prosperity and sound economic management. But they are hardly going to come to Miliband and Balls for that. 

If Cameron is something of a byword for smug complacency, then arrogance is surely Miliband’s.

He is either brave or deluded if he thinks that he can stand there and lecture people on debt. Yes, the Conservatives are borrowing too much, and everyone has the right to say so, bar the Labour Party. 

Cameron was clearly flustered today. He fell into silly traps and broke the golden rule that, if at all possible, you should never repeat the allegations being made against you, even in the form of a denial.

Cameron saying, “I’m not complacent”, looked terrible on TV and will no doubt dominate the news bulletins. 

Cameron was right on one thing. Over the course of the last year the economy did in fact grow, but by less than 1 percent. But it’s hardly the strongest point to make on a day in which we learned it is currently contracting.

By the end of his outing Cameron was breaking protocol and attacking Miliband directly, much to the ire of the Speaker.  

Ed needed a bad news day to pull it off, but it was a win for him.

And boy did he let us know it by dragging his finger nails down the chalkboard.

Being lectured on debt and bad economic figures by him would be enough to try the patience of a saint. And Cameron is no saint. 

Harry Cole is the UK Political Editor for The Commentator and the News Editor for the Guido Fawkes Blog. He tweets at @MrHarryCole

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