Thursday, March 13, 2014

MPs behaving badly

Earlier this week one of my work colleagues asked what I think of Prime Ministers' Question Time,  how MPs sometimes behave at it, and particularly the "Not invented here" syndrome which causes many parliamentarians to attack things which they would certainly do were they in government - or in many cases had done when they were.

I replied that I realise many of the public find some of the point scoring very childish, and the bad impression of politics thus created is unfortunate and off-putting.

However, it is not an accident that all Prime Ministers hate PMQs - it is because it does genuinely hold them to account. The fact that every PM knows he or she can be asked about anything the government is doing, and will have to answer in front of both a large round the world viewing audience and their own MPs forces them to keep on top of what their ministers are doing and think about how they might have to defend the governments' conduct of affairs.

For that reason I am convinced that Britain is better governed because PMQs exists and no government would dare abolish it - even though I share the concerns of those who wish the behaviour was a bit less like a bunch of kids at a kindergarten sometimes. (Indeed, I might be risking a class action from kindergarten-age children with that comparison.)

And by george, some of the behaviour is silly. This is what Giles Dilnot put together for the Daily Politics show yesterday on the BBC ...

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