By Tim Montgomerie
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Three observations about today's PMQs:
(1) A few months ago Ed Miliband was beginning to get the better of David Cameron. The Labour leader was raising obscure issues and the PM seemed under-briefed. Cameron has done what he always seem capable of when he's under pressure. He moved up a gear. Ed Miliband didn't lay a glove on him today and resorted to that last refuge of a PMQs loser when he accused the PM of playing politics. Perish the thought. Cameron has put in the extra hours and seems on top of the subject matter in a way that wasn't quite the case until he'd been put on the spot by Mr Miliband. [UPDATE: EVEN THE MIRROR'S KEVIN MAGUIRE AGREES].
(2) Cameron was helped by the fact that the Leader of the Opposition's chosen topic was the economy – the dominant issue of this parliament. Events across Europe have vindicated the Coalition's judgment that western countries are way past the point that extra borrowing could be justified. The Government may not have an adequate growth strategy but the public increasingly accept the Chancellor's argument on debt. 47% agree that "it is vital that Britain reduces our deficit or there is a serious risk that we could go the same way as Italy or Greece". Only 27% agree that "Britain has a healthier economy and lower debt than Italy or Greece – we could afford to borrow more to encourage growth"*. The great waste of Ed Miliband's leadership is that he has fallen under the spell of Ed Balls and hasn't corrected let alone apologised for Labour's casual approach to taxpayers' money.
(3) Tory MPs will also have enjoyed PMQs after three backbenchers – Andrew Bingham, Richard Ottaway and Louise Mensch – all gave the PM the opportunity to talk about the militancy of the public sector unions. The Labour benches squirmed. Anyone who read The Sun this morning should have seen this coming.
* Source: YouGov (PDF).