Saturday, 22 May 2010

Deputy PM to get own (Deputy) PMQs

Clement Attlee, First Deputy Prime Minister

According to the Times Nick Clegg (Deputy Dawg) is to get more than a shiny deputy badge in his hastily contrived role: his own Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions! He is likely to take the floor of the Commons once a week, to answer questions on his unique portfolio of constitutional reform and coalition trouble-shooting. Something to look forward to then!

The event, which has the broad agreement of the Speaker but is yet to be signed off by the new government, is likely to take place on Thursdays and be “bolted on” to Business Questions, where the agenda for the Commons is outlined. This will be seen as a sop to the Lib Dems who now sit on the gover
nment benches and lose the rights of opposition parties to cross-question the Prime Minister.

One of the complications of the new arrangement will be who sits across from Mr Clegg at the despatch box. Currently Harriet Harman, who has been appointed Labour’s acting leader, must lead for her party against David Cameron on a Wednesday. The role could be expected to pass to Rosie Winterton, who has succeeded Harbag as Shadow Leader of the House. I guess that Labour will have to have a shadow deputy dawg, but suppose that will be up to the new leader to decide.

John Prescott, the last deputy Prime Minister, used to have his own Question Time in the 15 minutes before Tony Blair took questions on a Wednesday. A kind of 'silly bugger' slot to warm them up you might say. However, this is not thought to carry enough prestige for the new holder of the badge. Nothing trivial for Deputy Dawg.

The office of Deputy Prime Minister was a made up job created, funnily enough, under our last coalition government for Clement Attlee. Clem went on to become PM in his own right. One of only two Deputy PM’s to do so. The other was Anthony Eden.

It is more like an office of political expediency and, where it exists, may bring with it practical influence depending on the status of the holder, rather than the status of the position.

It remains to be seen what Clegg will make of it with his rather nebulous brief of cooking the constitutional fudge and shoving it down the throats of his Tory colleagues and the British public! Let’s hope Labour put up someone who can give him a run for his money.


  1. Nick Cleggs new Constituional title will not be the deputy prime minister........

    No! Henceforth Nick Clegg will be known as

    'Cameron Minor'

  2. constitutional...........even

  3. I do so wish that you would stop using the words silly, daft and others before my name.

    Bugger (the Panda)

  4. And another thing;

    Has anyone noticed the gear change in postings by Tom Harris?

    He sees to be everybuggeringwhere spouting his egoistical bolloxses.

    I wonder why?

    Has be buggerallelse to do? (useful mutation of my given name, by the way Tammy boy!)

    Faux Cu!

  5. Sorry about that bugger! Yes I have noticed that Tom has been hectic in posting. I think he must be celebrating the downfall of PR. Great joy in South Glasgow as he would have won first round using AV. Or maybe he is making up for his time at the ayrshire advertiser or whatever it was!

  6. Niko: I prefer Cameron Mimimus, with which I'm sure you will be familiar, being a good Latin scholar.

  7. tris,

    When Niko was a lad, Latin was in everyday usage.

    It will be interesting to see how Clegg describes the constitutional "reform" in order to satisfy the rest of his party.

  8. ...of course, he might have had more of a chance of understanding it if I hadn't misspelt it... it should, of course, have read minimus.....

    Still as a native speaker of latin, as you point out Brownlie, I guess Niko would have risen above my silly typo and understood.