HARRIET Harman, Leader of the Commons, was mightily impressive the other day when answering questions on behalf of the absent Prime Minister.

Dare it be whispered that she was better than Gordon Brown himself.

Everyone assumed, even some on her own side, that she would make a complete hash of things and would be flattened by William Hague, far and away the best debater in the Commons.

But they were wrong. She was aggressive, feisty, jokey even, and gave at least as good as she got.

The fact that Labour MPs were chanting, “More! More! More!” when she finished was proof of her triumph. It was as though a rank outsider had won the Grand National.

It was proof of the urgent need for Gordon Brown to sharpen up his act. He looks uncomfortable and is lacklustre in the Commons.