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Alan_duncanThere were more Business Questions in the House of Commons yesterday.

It became apparent that the touching truce between the Leader of the House, Harriet Harman, and her opposite number Alan Duncan is at an end. Mr Duncan asked:

"Finally, on stepping down from jobs, may we have a debate on political blogs? I am not sure whether the right hon. and learned Lady is aware of the blog of a Labour councillor from Hackney, who is convinced that he has a winning strategy for the Labour party. He has written what he calls his “unsolicited advice to Gordon”. He says:

    “Harriet Harman has too many jobs and isn’t very good at hiding that she wants to add yours”—

that is, the Prime Minister’s—

    “to the list. Removing her role as Party Chair will…remind her who is boss.”

So who is the boss? Who is wearing the trousers in the Labour party now? How many jobs does the right hon. and learned Lady hold, and is it not sadly the case that we have a crisis in the labour market, a crisis in the Labour party, a Prime Minister who will not apologise, and a Leader of the House who is unapologetic about wanting his job?"

Ms Harman responded:

"In conclusion, the hon. Gentleman made a load of snide remarks about the Prime Minister, and he made snide remarks about me, too. I am disappointed. I know my hon. Friends warned me, but I said the hon. Gentleman was different. They said, “He’s just a Tory. He’s the same as all the others,” but I said, “No, I think he’s different.” I even bought him a Valentine’s card, and I thought me might buy me, or rather get me, a little trinket from the Sultan of Oman. It is clear now that he is the same as all the others. He does not see things in the way that I do, and he does not believe in the things that I do—he does not believe in helping people, if they get into difficulties; I do. We started off well at the beginning of the year, but it’s over!"

I am told that when Ms Harman said she thought Mr Duncan "was different" he replied "But I am!" and brought the House down.

I think the occasional bit of light relief like this is welcome.

Tom Greeves

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