Friday, July 18, 2014
Just 48 hours after walking down the so-called “Downing Street catwalk” , Norfolk MP Liz Truss was in the firing line from the Defra question-old timers.
It was all going pretty well in the rural-types’ equivalent of Prime Minister’s Questions.
MPs on both sides were popping up like moles to congratulate her on her elevation, and there were no googlies from the backbenches.
Until it came to a question on halal and kosher meat labelling.
From the front bench a squeal suddenly reverberated around the chamber. Not because of any shock that supermarkets might not have been marking their food appropriately, but because one of her ministers, George Eustice, having delivered his reply at the despatch box, had edged backwards and landed on her lap.
MPs, startled out of their daydreams, had to stifle guffaws, as the inevitable jokes about the junior minister ingratiating himself with his new boss were made.
There was no joking from Ms Truss’ opposite number, however. After very little in the way of pleasantries, Maria Eagle went for the jugular in taunting Ms Truss for her support for the badger cull.
In the opposition’s view, the former education minister had flunked her first test, by not announcing a U-turn on the culls. It is a matter of opinion, but the badgers would probably agree.