Labour will be pleased that Ed Miliband slightly fluffed his assault on the Tory chief whip at PMQs. The last thing the Opposition wants is for Andrew Mitchell to resign. Labour needs him to stay in place for as long as possible because Mitchell – not the monster of caricature – has turned into a walking party political broadcast for the Labour party.
Cameron is sticking with his chief whip, even though the “pleb” row is toxic for the Tories. It risks reinforcing stereotypes about the party and the isolation of some of its leading figures from the concerns of the rest of the country. But the Tory leader is determined not to be bossed by the media or the Opposition on this. So Mitchell stays.
Miliband’s attack was going well, until in his final question he mentioned tax cuts for millionaires. This allowed the Tory benches to howl him down. Ed Miliband, thanks to his very nice house, is surely a millionaire, even though he doesn’t earn £1 million a year. And he also referenced Mitchell keeping his job as others lose theirs in the world beyond Westminster. It was a daft slip on the day that unemployment was shown to be falling, which gave Cameron a way to move beyond the Mitchell row.