Peter Hoskin

Cameron’s press conference - live blog

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David Cameron has called a press conference for 1530, and you can probably guess the topic that will dominate proceedings (hint: MPs' expenses).  He's said to have spent today figuring out how to deal with the miscreants in his party, so will we hear what the punishment will be?  Stay tuned for live coverage.

1522: Apparently, the presser has been brought forward, but Cameron still hasn't appeared.  Should have said above: the Beeb are reporting that "top Tories" are going to pay back their dubious expenses. Expect to hear more on that from Dave

1526: Here's Cameron now.  He begins by saying "sorry" - "sorry that it has come to this, and sorry for the actions of some Tory MPs".

1527: Encouragingly, he adds that "I don't care if these actions were in the rules, they were wrong".

1528: The rhetoric is firm.  DC says that he expects his MPs to abide by his rules, regardless of what the Government says.

1529: Here are the actions now: Gove to pay back £7,000 for furniture; Alan Duncan will pay back £5,000 for gardening; Maude and Grayling won't claim for homes in London; among others.

1530: The Tories will set up a panel to scrutinise all expense claims.

1531:
Here's more:

All shad cab expense claims will be published online as and when they're made.

Tory MPs will be banned from flipping.

Shad cab will be banned from claims for furniture, overnight stays and food.

1532: Now Cameron's taking questions.  No hint of the whip being removed from anyone, but a lot of sensible stuff above.  Will it be enough?  Cameron admits that it won't fully restore the public's faith in Parliament, but it's a start.

1533: Cameron: "This is not the last word.  This is not perfect.  But I want to make it clear how I want my MPs to act."

1535: Aksed about Tebbit, Cameron says that the former minister is "treading a very careful path" and, if he slips, "he may find he is running as an independent".

1538: To be fair, Cameron's handling the questions well.  This could have been an embarrassing presser for the Tory leader, but he's sounding convincing and firm.

1540: Cameron declines to say that Michael Martin should go.  He's respectful of the Speaker, but he hardly offers glowing praise or fulsome support.

1544, this from Fraser: Nick Robinson's question is one I've heard a lot from Tories: it's okay for a trust fund kid like Cameron to repay money. He has plenty of it. 

It would be suicide to repeat this in public, but I suspect Cameron knows that many of his MPs are thinking "austerity for who?"

Adam Boulton asks about the Speaker. Cameron said he thinks it's a constitutional princple that he doesn't criticise the Speaker. A principle which has hardly served Westminster well.

1546: Asked whether he considered sacking anyone or whether anyone thought about resignation, Cameron is evasive: "The shadow cabinet are a close team, and we worked together to come up with these measures.  They understand that remaining in the shadow cabinet is conditional on accepting them."

1548, FN: In Cameron's speech, he said: " "I've said we want to put responsibility at the heart of our society". What a cheek. It is for the government to live up to the public's standards, not vice versa. People are responsible, but they also react to incentives - Cameron's job is to get rid of the perverse incentives, not wag his finger at the public and tell them to be more responsible.

1550, FN: "This, as you can see, is affecting every party partly because of that culture problem. It is going to be an issue of pulling ourselves out of the mud, we're deeply enmired in this stuff. Politcians of all parties." An honest and all-too-accurate assessment.

1551: Cameron's pushed on whether he should apologise for his failure to deal with this last year, in the wake of the Conway scandal.  He replies testily, saying that's "unfair," as the "Conseratives, and [I] in particular" pushed for the original FOI request.  He admits that he wished he "could have done more" on stopping his MPs making these outrageous claims in the meantime.

1557: Good answer on the police molehunt: "I wish the police were free to spend their time looking for terrorists and criminals."

1557: Question from Fraser of this parish: will Cameron preempt that next scandal, by looking at party funding and how much taxpayers' money the Tories take? Cameron's response: "I've tried to broaden the base of funding ... in a recession is the wrong time to increase state funding for political parties ... but I think our ability to hold the government to account, and be a proper opposition, would be reduced without state funding.  I think we're offering good value for money."

1600, VERDICT: And that's it.  There will still be questions - particularly over whether Cameron should be firmer with the receipt offenders - but I think he's done alright today.  The measures he outlined sound sensible, and he's stolen a march on Brown and Clegg.  As the Tory leader said: not enough to restore the public's faith in the political class.  But a start.