Speaker of the House John Bercow struggled to restrain an agitated house during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday, after Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Harriet Harman challenged the Prime Minister to name which artist sang each line of the original ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas Time?’ single.
After an initial look of panic, the Prime Minister displayed some clever political nous by trying to evade the question on a technicality, claiming that ‘the official artist was Band Aid’ and that he felt it was ‘not appropriate to comment on individual artist’s contributions’. Shouts from the opposition benches suggesting the Prime Minister was stalling for time and ‘answer the question you big girl’s blouse’ seemed to hold some truth, as after the Speaker settled the House once again, the Prime Minister retook to the dispatch box and reeled off Paul Young, Boy George and George Michael.
The salvo seemed to take the Shadow Culture Secretary by surprise as she was clearly about to move in for the kill. Seeing the PM retake his seat next to Nick Clegg, Harman blurted out something about Clegg being the Andrew Ridgeley of their particular relationship, and asked Cameron when he was going solo. Looks from the more seasoned Labour backbenchers indicated that this was a poor retort and possibly an own goal. She then rallied by asking the Prime Minister to clarify who was the co-singer of George Michael’s second line. The PM, emboldened by chanting from his own backbenchers and a shout of ‘go on Dave, nail the bitch’ from Michael Gove, rushed to his feet and shouted ‘Sting!’
A moment of awkward silence presaged a smattering of laughter from all sides of the house. Speaker Bercow reprimanded Dennis Skinner for making masturbatory signs with his hand, near his mouth, while jabbing his tongue into his cheek, and also threatened to name Kenneth Clarke for calling the Prime Minister a ‘twat’.
Crippled with embarrassment, the Prime Minister gave way to Harman, who, smelling blood, pressed home the advantage by putting her tongue into her bottom lip, making what Nick Robinson later described as a ‘bit of a spastic noise’, and finished Mr Cameron off with ‘It was Simon Le Bon, you pillock.’
It was a clear Labour victory, as signified by shouts of ‘gutted!’ from the Speaker’s left, and Ipsos Mori polls released later that day showed an almost immediate dip in popularity for the Conservatives.