PMQ’s the political football…..
Every time there is a change of colour of government it seems that it is almost a ritual to change PMQ’s. To a degree this is understandable as each individual Prime Minister changes it to fit their individual style; and so it is that the Daily Mail reports David Cameron will move PMQ’s to Thursday if elected. According to the spin this is due to a desire to keep MP’s in Westminster longer and ‘lengthen their working week’ which rather unfairly assumes they have no work to do in their constituencies.
However, another possibility is raised at the end of the article;
Critics of Mr Cameron may spy an ulterior motive in the proposal because the move to Thursday would give him more time to prepare for the gladiatorial session as PM.
It would also make it easier to control the news agenda early in the week, with less time to be damaged by political controversy at the end of it.
Since no extra session is seemingly proposed we can certainly rule out the move being on accountability grounds and the point above tends to negate the official line that it will make ‘workshy’ MP’s stay longer in Westminster. The effectiveness of PMQ’s on accountability grounds is open to debate in any case given the event’s media status. However, a return to two-sessions would at least increase the responsiveness of the PM to the development of the newsweek. Also, better policing by the Speaker of planted questions would make the PMQ’s experience better and in this regard John Bercow has at least been making an effort; recently upbraiding Labour MP’s who were focusing on the Conservatives travails over Lisbon. PMQ’s will always be something of a political football and part of its appeal is indeed it’s ‘gladiatorial’ nature so changes to it are really not the way to radically increase executive accountability.