Jeremy Paxman’s back – but did he go too far?

Twitter celebrated the return of the Grand Inquisitor during the #BattleforNumber10, then shivered as he tore David Cameron and Ed Miliband apart

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Jeremy Paxman claims to be a “one nation Tory” but he didn’t let that distract him from his first political gig for Channel 4: quizzing prime minister David Cameron, followed by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

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The well-seasoned interviewer clearly had been waiting a long time for this moment since leaving the BBC’s Newsnight in June last year. Both Cameron and Miliband must have wished they had agreed to face each other rather than this wrecking ball in a suit.

It was like opening a fizzed-up Coke bottle, and both Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband were sprayed with acidic questioning from the off.

Social media lapped it up – at least to begin with.

Even when Cameron did gather himself for an answer, all Paxo had to do was lounge back and shoot a bemused glance for the screen grabbers back home.

Honestly, Lord Sugar has nothing compared to this.

It must have felt like a life time for the prime minister, but Paxman’s machine gun delivery was actually over in a merciful 18 minutes. The audience Q&A section was never going to match what had just happened, but even compared to a run-of-the-mill Question Time session this seemed anodyne.

It’s OK, though, we could pass the time imagining what circle of hell Miliband was about to enter.

A few more questions for Ed Miliband from the studio audience, then Demon Headmaster Paxman was back in the room.

But the Twitter tide appeared to be turning against Paxman during the Miliband main course. Was this down to who was involved?

Was it that Miliband was reacting better than expected?

Or was it that Paxo himself had misjudged this second encounter?

The interrogation ended, the cameras rolled back, but the microphones hadn’t quite faded before Paxman unleashed this parting shot.

Of course he wasn’t OK. Conspiracy or cock-up?

These two bouts didn’t teach us much about who will be the next prime minister, but they did remind us that Paxman is still very much a force in British politics.

Not that that’s necessarily a good thing.

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Paxman for PM? If you’re after a quieter PMQs, perhaps not.