Wednesday, 25 November 2009

PMQs today

A quick guide to Oral Questions to the Prime Minister later today. As you will see from the colour coding the Tories were caught napping last week, presumably because we were on a one line whip for some of it, and don't seem to have got their questions in. That, or they've just been unlucky. Other interesting things to note. Roberta has never before, in four and a half years as an MP, managed to get on the Order Paper for PMQs; she's been called at PMQs, but only because she's bobbed up and down. This week she's number one and as Chair of the All-Party Group on Afghanistan I suppose she might go on that issue. Phil Wilson on the other hand, is on the Order Paper virtually every week, but always in that twilight spot when he's not quite sure whether the Speaker will get down to him or not. And Eric Martlew, as a Cumbrian MP, will, I'd imagine, have something to say about the floods.

*1 Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham):
*2 Madeleine Moon (Bridgend):
*3 Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside):
*4 Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute):
*5 Paul Rowen (Rochdale):
*6 Eric Martlew (Carlisle):
*7 David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate):
*8 Dr Alan Whitehead (Southampton, Test):
*9 Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central):
*10 Sally Keeble (Northampton North):
*11 Jim McGovern (Dundee West):
*12 Phil Wilson (Sedgefield):
*13 David Gauke (South West Hertfordshire):

*14 Betty Williams (Conwy):
*15 Gerald Howarth (Aldershot):

As previously explained here, the Speaker will alternate between Government and Opposition, so it will actually go something like this: 1. Roberta 2. Cameron (6 questions) 3. Random Labour backbencher 4. Clegg (2 questions) 5. Madeline - and so on. I'd imagine if Jamie Reed is in the Chamber he may, as a Cumbrian MP whose constituency has been hit by the floods, stand a good chance of being called. Tony Cunningham, whose constituency of Workington has been worst hit, has been putting in an heroic effort in his constituency since the rain began, but he's a senior Government whip so he can't take part in PMQs. No idea what Cameron and Clegg will go on this week. The floods? The Iraq inquiry? Copenhagen and climate change? Who knows...


Bristol Dave said...

Thanks for these posts about PMQs Kerry, I for one find them very interesting.

I've always been surprised that "bobbing" is even remotely effective. Surely if there's an Order Paper there's no time for "bobbers"?

Kerry said...

It's because the questions have to alternate between Govt and the Opposition parties (which actually means the Opposition get more because Cameron and Clegg only count as one each). So if there are two Labour MPs in a row on the Order paper, an Opposition MP will 'bob' to catch the Speaker's eye and be called from the floor. the previous Speaker sometimes just used to take people out of order, i.e. if a random Tory was needed he'd take a Tory from lower down the order paper, but Bercow doesn't generally do that. 'Catching the Speaker's eye' can be entirely random, but sometimes an MP will drop a note to him beforehand, and if it's someone senior - e.g. a John Prescott or a Michael Howard - they're more likely to be called.

Bristol Dave said...

Thanks, that explains it better.