Bipartisan Reasonableness revisited
David Cameron’s finest hour in the Chamber today. Didn’t put a foot wrong in a very complex and emotive subject.
Tom Harris blogs today, making the important point that the inquiry was worth its cost:
His performance at the despatch box on Tuesday as he announced the inquiry conclusions was nothing short of superb. He handled an incredibly difficult brief with sensitivity and courage and he drew the admiration of the whole House.
And I hear that Denis MacShane was surprised, after Cameron had been mildly dismissive of him in the Chamber during his statement on Afghanistan the day before (after his visit, right), to receive a personal apology from the Prime Minister himself.
MacShane had asked a question which took the form of congratulating Cameron for asserting political authority over the military brass. He quoted himself having said three weeks earlier that “war is too important a matter to be left to generals”. The Prime Minister was teasingly amused:
I was once told that the first sign of madness is to read out one’s own speeches, but I agree very much with a lot of what he said.
Later in Portcullis House, the Westminster annex, MacShane was chatting to another Labour MP when he felt a tap on the shoulder. It was Cameron, who apologised for his rudeness and said again that he agreed with him.
That is not something that one can imagine Gordon Brown doing.
It recalls the halcyon days of what I once called (to reveal my first sign of madness) Tony Blair’s Bipartisan Reasonableness. That kind of mutual admiration between a party leader and opposition MPs is not just good manners and good for politics, but it greatly strengthens a Prime Minister.Tagged in: david cairns, david cameron, denis macshane, tom harris
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