Below is a sight many of us didn’t think we’d be seeing: Ken Clarke responding to a government statement  from the Opposition Despatch Box this afternoon as shadow business secretary. Alan Duncan is clearly enjoying the performance given by his successor.

Mr Clarke described it a "consitutional outrage" that due to Lord Mandelson’s being a member of the House of Lords it was their Lordships who heard the statement first and the Commons had to make do with having it re-read by Business and Enterprise Minister, Ian Pearson.

The new shadow business secretary suggested that the Government package announced today was "pretty small beer", wondering whether, for the first time, the Treasury had actually won an argument with a government department which wanted money and not produced a bail-out because it couldn’t be afforded.

He accused the Government of having dithered on how to respond and mocked the new trade minister, Lord Davies, for the fact that one of his first decisions in government had been to set up a task force.

Altogether, a solid first outing for the big beast from Rushcliffe.

Jonathan Isaby