"The Executive is doing some good things but . . ." was the tone of the proceedings, even from its own supporters.
However, the bonhomie reckoned without young Tory Rottweiler Murdo Fraser who wasted no time sinking his teeth into Education Minister Peter Peacock, describing him as "the most brazenly partisan member of the Executive", and adding: "I imagine he spends most of the time polishing his brass neck."
Peacock had not taken the Tories lying down, dismissing their policies as "simplistic tosh" - not a reference, we trust, to Murray of that ilk, the esteemed deputy presiding officer.