Tories return to Gordon Brown’s YouTube appearance

May 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm 1 comment

The Prime Minister’s recent video announcement on MP expenses, released on the website YouTube, was raised again in the Commons yesterday.

Gordon Brown was criticised for revealing his plans for a new expenses and staffing arrangements on the internet instead of making an announcement to Parliament.

Tory MP David Gauke raised a point of order with the Speaker yesterday.

“On a number of occasions, you have raised the requirement for Ministers to answer written parliamentary questions appropriately,” he said.

“I asked the Prime Minister a question, the answer to which was published in Hansard on 30 April 2009 at column 1415W.

“I asked him whether the recording of his statement on hon. Members’ allowances that was uploaded to his YouTube channel on 21 April had required more than one take. The response was:

“The recording is available on the Downing street YouTube channel.”

“That clearly represents a failure—some might call it a lamentable failure—to answer the question. What can I do to ensure that the Prime Minister will answer this question?”

Speaker Michael Martin responded: “I think that the Prime Minister has answered the question in his own way, and I think that we could leave it at that.”

At Prime Minister’s Questions last week the famous video was raised by Conservative MP Peter Bone.

“Given his recent comedy turn on YouTube, when can we expect another performance?” he asked.

Gordon Brown responded:

“YouTube is one of the most important mediums of communication and, even if the Opposition will not use it, I shall continue to do so.”

The video site, which is owned by Google, has had several mentions in the Commons since the Prime Minister’s appearance the day before the Budget.

In a written answer yesterday, digital engagement minister Tom Watson told Tory MP Francis Maude about email contact with No. 10:

“Enhancements have been made to the No. 10 e-mail facility and an updated version is now available. This is in addition to the other ways in which members of the public can interact with the Prime Minister, including: ePetitions; Ask the PM on the Downing Street YouTube site; Twitter; and, written correspondence.”

At today’s PMQs David Cameron mocked the Prime Minister over a newspaper article by Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, at the weekend.

“She did not write an article about unemployment. She did not write an article about the recession. She wrote an article about the Prime Minister’s leadership and his failure of authority. Let me read out what she said:

“YouTube if you want to.”

“How much more mocking can one get than that?

“Does he not realise that his Government simply cannot go on like this? Let me ask him again: why is she still in the Cabinet?”

The Prime Minister responded:

“What we are doing is taking action on the recession. We are helping the unemployed get back into work—opposed by the Conservatives. We are helping people with their mortgages—opposed by the Conservatives.

“We are helping people with cash flow for their businesses—opposed by the Conservatives. We are going to give a September schools guarantee to every school leaver that they will get work, training or educational support, which is also opposed by the Conservatives.

“Let us talk about the real issues in government. It is about making big decisions in difficult times. The right hon. Gentleman is not up to the task.”


Entry filed under: Commons, Procedure. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. UK Voter  |  May 6, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    PMQ’s is getting a little boring. Because Gordon Brown always uses the same, well rehearsed answers…and always to questions that have no even been asked. It is nothing more than a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour party.


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