The catchphrase “I agree with Nick” became something of a joke after the pre-election TV debates a year ago, as David Cameron and Gordon Brown both vied to sound collegiate.
A close examination of Monday’s Libya debate on Hansard shows how Cameron uses courtesy as a Commons tool to win around MPs to his point of view; impressively in this case. Notice how he uses the phrase “I agree” – or variations thereof – to appear statesmanlike again and again. It is hard to imagine Gordon Brown being quite so smooth.
(To Jeremy Corbyn, one of the strongest critics of the action)
I also agree with the hon. Members who signed the amendment about the need to avoid the use of depleted uranium and cluster munitions. We do not use those munitions. I welcome their support for those struggling for democracy and freedom in the region, and back their call to restart the middle east peace process.
(To Caroline Lucas, who points out that Britain supplied weapons to many Middle East despots including Gaddafi)
The hon. Lady makes an important point, which we have discussed several times during statements and questions. We are having a proper review of not just arms exports, but training licences and other relations. Of the 118 single and open licences for Libya, we have revoked all licences that cover equipment of concern. However, I agree with the hon. Lady that there will be lessons to learn from the conflict for the future.
(To Dennis Skinner, who warns that we may struggle to extricate ourselves from Libya)
For once, I agree with the hon. Gentleman-I entirely agree with the first part of his question, because it is easier to start these things than to finish them, and we should always be cautious and careful before we go ahead. However…