New Times,
New Thinking.

25 November 2009

Clegg wins PMQs

Bold intervention on Iraq inquiry

By James Macintyre

David Cameron surprised the House with a rather bizarre attempt at an offensive against Gordon Brown on Islamic extremism today, claiming that “there is a sense the government has not got a grip” on the issue. Egged on by the shadow schools secretary Michael Gove, who takes a strong interest in Hizb ut-Tahrir, Cameron claimed it had involvement in two schools and condemned Brown for saying only that he would investigate these unheard-of cases.

Brown emphasised that the vast majority of Muslims were moderate and Cameron’s offbeat attack fell flat.

It was left to Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, to light up the House with two very sharp questions about the Chilcot inquiry into Britain’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq invasion. He highlighted various get-outs the inquiry has been given when it comes to publishing material submitted to the inquiry — even when that material does not threaten national security.He also highlighted the “disgraceful” veto granted to each Whitehall department on releasing material.

Clegg accused the government of “suffocating” information to the inquiry and the House found Brown’s reply — “That is not what John Chilcot has said” — less than impressive.

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Clegg was right to go on the inquiry and he was the star of the session.


Gordon Brown 4

David Cameron 4

Nick Clegg 8


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