Even with Hazel Blears MP assigned to the back benches I'm sure Iain Dale has his champions on the Labour Front benches as the Official Labour Party's Favourite Tory Boy Blogger (OLPFTBB).
It's posts like THIS, and the casual defamation and misinformation, that give Iain this edge.
Iain greets an article by Lord Hattersley in The Times, pointing out that Cameron doesn't ask decent questions and has only himself to blame if he doesn't get answers he's happy with. Woy also reminds us that he himself took on the Blessed Margaret at PMQs on more than one occasion.
Anyways, Iain the OLPFTBB hangs himself out to dry thusly:
Is Lord Hattersley's memory failing him? Or is mine? I cannot recall a single occasion when he questioned Margaret Thatcher at PMQs. Can anyone else? So far as I remember, whenever he deputised for Kinnock he faced either Willie Whitelaw, John Wakeham or Geoffrey Howe.
To date three occasions have been quickly offered by commenters. One offering two as if off the top of his head. Another adding a third after looking in Hansard. After which information some hard-of-reading sock muppet nonetheless called "Carl Menson" (rhymes with Jim Henson, but probably NOT this self-mutilating muppet here) offers this up as a Brown resigning issue:
If this is true, and Gordon Brown refuses to take questions from Cameron's deputy while Thatcher took questions from Kinnock's deputy, surely this is a resigning issue?
If it is correct that Brown is flaunting parliamentary protocol, he must go. I would like to hear Cameron making more of this issue. Why isn't the BBC reporting it?
Because it is arrant twaddle Carl is why. Here's David Boothroyd who knows his onions:
It's only recently that it has become custom and practice for both Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to be substituted by their deputies if one of them is unavailable, so there would have been occasional opportunities for Hattersley to lead off at PMQs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Prime Minister does not get to choose who asks them questions, of course.
This crossed with my own speculations:
Presumably either late Margaret, or Major, or Blair changed this convention? Or by happenstance two leaders were away at once and everyone thought: "Ah, that went very well." Or perhaps it was the blessed Margaret who changed the previous protocol because she didn't trust any of her colleagues not to knife her?
They eventually got her of course when she went off gallivanting in Paris when she should have had her famous great hooter to the grindstone. Image; Gerald Scarfe Gallery.
FOOTNOTE: Our thoughts of course go out to a great matriarch, currently confined in hospital following a nasty break in a household fall ...
NO! NO! Not Maggie. Stick some more pins in her by all means. I'm thinking of my dear Grandmother Kate, known as Mabel (103), who is in the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Probably throwing cartwheels on her new (and first) replacement hip. Get well soon Gran!