A DAY AND NIGHT OF FRONTLINE POLITICS

Richard and I enjoyed a day, and evening, of front line politics on Wednesday starting with a visit back to our old stamping ground – the Palace of Westminister – for Prime Minister’s questions.HOc2H

In our day, when we both worked in the Press Gallery and Lobby, PMQs ran for 15 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Nowadays it is half an hour on a Wednesday.

Matt Hancock very kindly invited us and it was very  interesting to observe the bear pit from the otherside of the chamber to the press gallery. Actually it all seemed quite tame but I am not sure whether that was the effect of the glass screen in front of the public gallery. The whole event seemed to fizzle out of steam after about 20 minutes.

For some reason, Ed Milliband decided to attack the Prime Minister on immigration and made zero headway as David Cameron was able to keep responding with references to Labour’s appalling record. The PM effortlessly batted away every question from the Labour Leader – and the opposition looked distinctly underwhelmed by their man’s performance.

My observation was to note the impact of ‘peace’ in Northern Ireland. When we worked at Westminster the press gallery and chamber were packed for NI questions and tensions always ran high. It was a very subdued affair with only Hansard and PA in the press gallery.

I then met up with the inspirational Anne Jenkin, founder of Women2Win for coffee and a chat. Her group are doing so much to support women applying for Conservative seats and I have now signed up to W2W

Then on Wednesday night we attended a not-to-be-missed fundraising event organised by South Suffolk Conservatives – an evening with Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes – so very appropriate for this time of year.

He gaves us a brilliant tour of the political blogging world, explaining why he set up – anger at the way the press were not challenging Tony Blair’s government –  and how his team operates. I was a fan before I met him – I am now a super fan.