by Ray Fleming

new adjectives to describe the chaotic state of Britain's coalition government and of No 10 Downing Street in particular. On Wednesday, at his first Prime Minister's Questions in the new term of the House of Commons, Mr Cameron announced a policy about which his own staff and the relevant department apparently knew little or nothing.

The policy would require energy companies routinely to charge customers the lowest possible rate, subject to subsequent negotiation if necessary. The spokesman at No 10 was unable to explain how this new system would work and the Department of Energy kept its head down while waiting for guidance. Yesterday the Energy Minister, John Heyes was called to the Commons to explain what the Prime Minister had in mind. Rather bravely, as a new boy in the job, he refused to say that his department had been consulted before Mr Cameron spoke on Wednesday and took refuge in the fact that the policy had been “one of several options” under discussion.

The rapidly escalating costs of domestic energy in Britain are a source of concern to millions of home owners and it is wrong that their expectation of some protection from the government should be handled in this casual and confusing way. Mr Cameron should curb his liking for acting as spokesman for all departments and concentrate on prime ministerial matters.