Thursday News Review

The boy done good

Ed Miliband was the undisputed winner in his debut appearance opposite David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. The new Labour leader scored a direct hit on the PM’s muddled policies when he went on the attack over coalition plans to scrap child benefit for higher-rate taxpayers. He said Cameron’s proposals to cut child benefit for people earning over £44,000 were unfair for middle-income families. And he showed he had nerves of steel in the bearpit of British politics when Cameron flannelled on an answer. The Tory leader tried to turn the question around on the Doncaster MP by asking if it was fair that the poor in his constituency should pay for his child benefit. Without realising it, Cameron had walked into a trap. Miliband retorted: “I may be new to this game but I thought I asked the questions and you answered them.” – The Daily Record

ITN News

He asked the question all mums want to put to the Prime Minister who aims to axe child benefit: “Does that strike you as fair?” His straight-talking sounded sincere and smart. His body language screamed quiet confidence. In his first PMs Questions as Labour leader, Ed Miliband proved he was twice the man David Cameron was. – The Mirror

Making his debut at the Dispatch Box as Labour leader, Mr Miliband asked how it was fair for parents with one salary of £44,000 to lose out while those with two salaries totalling more than £80,000 could keep the benefit. Mr Cameron hit back by accusing Mr Miliband of expressing concern for the “squeezed middle” to cover the fact that he had been elected with the support of the trade unions. The benefit changes, which will affect those paying 40 per cent tax from 2013, mean that a three-child family with a single income of £33,000 after tax will lose £2,500 a year, the equivalent of 6p on the basic rate of income tax. – The Telegraph

Cleverly Mr Miliband chose one topic where the Government is in a hole – the planned changes to child benefit, which have thrown up unpopular anomalies leaving stay-at-home middle-class mothers (the holy grail of political pollsters) out of pocket. He also caught out Mr Cameron, asking innocently for a statistic which the Prime Minister did not have to hand. There’s a scene in the House of Cards trilogy where this happens at PMQs, and Francis Urquhart responds by making up a plausible-sounding figure. Luckily Mr Cameron chose not to risk it. – The Western Mail

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