Both the Conservative and LibDem leaders managed to unsettle the Prime Minister at the weekly joust that is PMQs. David Cameron struck first with questions around Islamic extremism. Then Nick Clegg waded in over the Iraq inquiry.
Once the initial opening questions were asked, the leader of the opposition stood and asked a couple of questions around the flooding in Cumbria. Then, on his third of the six questions that the opposition leader can ask by convention, he asked if the PM was aware of any Islamic extremist organisations that were in receipt public funds.
The PM obviously had no reply and said that if the leader of the opposition could supply him with any evidence he would look into it. The look on his face showed that he knew what was coming.
With a flourish Cameron stood and said he would do so right there and then. He then went on to claim that there were two Islamic schools that had been supplied with public funds. Â£113,000 in all from the Pathfinder scheme that is provided to combat extremism. The money had been provided to the Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation, which has close links he claimed with the extremist group Hizb-Ut-Tarhir. He went on to claim that some ISF members were also members of HUT.
Cameron went on to say that the shadow schools secretary had written to the Education Secretary and as Gordon Brown didn’t know it showed how far out of touch with the cabinet the PM was. The shadow Home Secretary, Chris Grayling, has already stated he will ban HUT if the Tories are elected.
Gordon Brown retorted that the vast majority of Muslims are law abiding citizens and that Cameron may well regret his words in times to come. He did agree to look into the matter, but it would be wrong to condemn HUT out of hand.
It does seem though that Haringey Council suspended funding for an Islamic primary school back in late October.
Then, when Nock Clegg had his turn he asked a very telling question on the Chilcott enquiry. First he asked if the all findings that were not security related would be made available to which the PM answered that these were matters for the inquiry. Â This resulted in Clegg holding up the government protocol that covered the inquiry, which detailed the nine reasons to suppress information. Some of these are not security related but business and economically related and gave government departments far too many get out clauses for supplying information he said.
Overall not a good PMQs for the Prime Minister. Winner Nick Clegg.