Jo Swinson has criticised the ‘Punch and Judy politics’ of Prime Minister’s Questions, during today’s question session at Westminster.
Speaking to the Prime Minister at Westminster, Jo said:
“Now that the Leader of the Opposition has ‘fessed up’ to breaking his promise to end Punch and Judy politics, does the Prime Minister still think that this weekly knockabout is the best way for MPs to hold his Government to account?”
Commenting later, she said:
“Today, Gordon Brown warmly backed the current format of Prime Minister’s Questions. Given than his visits to the House of Commons every Wednesday have become increasingly bruising affairs in recent weeks, I can’t help thinking he would express a different view in private.
“Prime Minister’s Questions presents Parliament at its worst – a raucous schoolyard atmosphere, preventing any reasoned debate on the big issues of the day.
“Members of Parliament know that beyond the pettiness and partisanship of Prime Minister’s Questions, a huge amount of very constructive work takes place in the Commons. Unfortunately, PMQs is the only insight many members of the public get into politics at Westminster.
“As it is currently conducted, Prime Minister’s Questions allows little scope for holding Gordon Brown to account over the issues important to people in East Dunbartonshire, like pensions and taxation. The situation as it stands is not healthy for Governmental accountability, or for our democracy as a whole.”
During his 2005 campaign to become Tory leader, David Cameron pledged to bring an end to ‘Punch and Judy politics”. Speaking on Radio 4′s Today programme on 29th April 2008, he said: “I will absolutely hold up my hand…and say you’re quite right, this is a promise I have not been able to deliver – I ‘fess up to you if you like.”