The New Year appeared to have brought a new tone to Prime Minister's Questions.

It began as a startlingly sombre affair. In part that had to do with the sudden death yesterday morning of former Labour minister Paul Goggins. He passed away after taking ill while out jogging over Christmas.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said Labour had lost "one of its own and one of its best".

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There was other sad news to be marked as well.

The Prime Minister began PMQs, as he has so many times, by noting another Armed Forces death in Afghanistan. But he also offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash of an American military helicopter overnight.

Mr Miliband then kicked off his questions with a careful and considered query about the flooding problems seen across much of the UK over Christmas.

Mr Cameron answered sensitively and responsibly. And so it went on, back and forth between the two, and eventually wags were forced to wonder aloud whether MPs where all about to hug one another.

But the brief truce in hostilities was not to last.

Mr Cameron came out fighting when asked about cutting working families' housing benefit - "we're cutting working families' taxes", he bellowed at a Labour MP.

And then Ian Davidson stood up. With impeccable timing he looked Mr Cameron straight in the eye and told him "Without seeking to give offence" - five words designed only to preface offensive comments.

"Without seeking to give offence to the Prime Minister," he said, "could I tell him that the last thing Scots who support the No campaign want to have as their representative is a Tory toff …"

Mr Cameron laughed heartily. But Mr Davidson had more. "Even one, that is, with a fine haircut?" he added, referrring to the PM's hairdresser who was given a gong at the New Year.