GIMSON Andrew Krieg

Harriet Harman rose to unkind cheers from the Tory benches. How they revel in the difficulties she has been having in cutting her party free from various outdated policies which would encumber it over the next five years.

Harman remains this column’s candidate to become the next Labour leader. The official contenders - with the notable exception of Jeremy Corbyn – are far too young and inexperienced.

One senses that over time, Harman might become rather brilliant, in a Lady Bracknellish way, at patronising the Prime Minister. People often accuse their rivals of their own faults, and today she accused him of patronising her:

“I don’t need to be patronised by the Prime Minister about not understanding the minimum wage. We introduced it [heavy, almost Thatcherite emphasis].”

This was water off David Cameron’s back. He displayed an ostentatious grasp of the workings of the welfare state, and refused to accept that the Budget might leave some people worse off.

How Harman yearned for Cameron to behave instead with ostentatious unfairness. “He’s just governing in the interests of the Tory Party,” she protested.

The Tory benches looked delighted to hear this. They cannot help feeling the election victory should redound to their advantage, or at least to the disadvantage of the Labour Party.

Cameron kept accusing Labour of being “in hock to the trade unions”.  It is not an original line, but reassures his own side that he respects the history of the last hundred years.

Angus Robertson, for the Scottish Nationalists, asked two very worthy questions about rape. Can it be that he is worried by the task of taking on Cameron? This was the last PMQs before the summer recess, but one guesses Robertson’s troops may expect him to show a bit more fighting spirit after the break.

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