Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read posts from today, on Palin, Iran and petition power.

1. Hypocritical Cameron voted against proposals to reform parliamentary privilege

Left Foot Forward's Shamik Das reveals that David Cameron voted No to measures that would prevent MPs invoking parliamentary privilege to avoid prosecution.

2. What President Palin's foreign policy would look like

Andrew Sullivan says Sarah Palin is now hinting that she favours a full-scale war with Iran.

3. CCHQ is watching you as Tory high command co-ordinates right-wing bloggers

Political Scrapbook looks at the right-wing blogosphere, and evidence that there is someone at Conservative Central Office who monitors every single mention of David Cameron on Twitter.

4. Iran: will they, won't they?

Channel 4's Lindsey Hilsum wonders whether Iran's ambiguity over its nuclear policy is part of a cunning plan, or a sign of chaos at the heart of the regime.

5. Petition power

Paul Waugh blogs on pros and cons of Cameron's pledge to implement direct democracy.

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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn turns "the nasty party" back on Theresa May

The Labour leader exploited Conservative splits over disability benefits.

It didn't take long for Theresa May to herald the Conservatives' Copeland by-election victory at PMQs (and one couldn't blame her). But Jeremy Corbyn swiftly brought her down to earth. The Labour leader denounced the government for "sneaking out" its decision to overrule a court judgement calling for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) to be extended to those with severe mental health problems.

Rather than merely expressing his own outrage, Corbyn drew on that of others. He smartly quoted Tory backbencher Heidi Allen, one of the tax credit rebels, who has called on May to "think agan" and "honour" the court's rulings. The Prime Minister protested that the government was merely returning PIPs to their "original intention" and was already spending more than ever on those with mental health conditions. But Corbyn had more ammunition, denouncing Conservative policy chair George Freeman for his suggestion that those "taking pills" for anxiety aren't "really disabled". After May branded Labour "the nasty party" in her conference speech, Corbyn suggested that the Tories were once again worthy of her epithet.

May emphasised that Freeman had apologised and, as so often, warned that the "extra support" promised by Labour would be impossible without the "strong economy" guaranteed by the Conservatives. "The one thing we know about Labour is that they would bankrupt Britain," she declared. Unlike on previous occasions, Corbyn had a ready riposte, reminding the Tories that they had increased the national debt by more than every previous Labour government.

But May saved her jibe of choice for the end, recalling shadow cabinet minister Cat Smith's assertion that the Copeland result was an "incredible achivement" for her party. "I think that word actually sums up the Right Honourable Gentleman's leadership. In-cred-ible," May concluded, with a rather surreal Thatcher-esque flourish.

Yet many economists and EU experts say the same of her Brexit plan. Having repeatedly hailed the UK's "strong economy" (which has so far proved resilient), May had better hope that single market withdrawal does not wreck it. But on Brexit, as on disability benefits, it is Conservative rebels, not Corbyn, who will determine her fate.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.