Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 1 July 2009

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Stay tuned for live coverage of PMQs from 1200.

1202: And they're off.  Brown starts with by welcoming the "new recogition" that British troops killed in combat will receive.  The Queen will make a statement on this later.

1204: First question on swine flu.  Brown confirms that there are now over 6,000 confirmed cases.  He adds that "we continue to monitor the situation closely".  Andy Burnham will make a statement on the issue tomorrow.

1205: Cameron leads by asking Brown whether "total spending" will continue to rise.  Brown says that it will before - oddly - claiming that spending will "rise by 0 percent" as of 2013.  The Tory benches erupt with laughter.

1207: Cameron pushes on spending, brandishing a Treasury document which points to medium-term cuts. Brown responds by saying that the "real issue" is the Government "spending now on the services we need".  He then says that Cameron needs to answer questions about Tory cuts. Same old, same old.

This is solid stuff from Cameron.  He defines the framework of the debate: "In his answer to the first question, the PM mentioned a 0 percent rise ... in the second question, he admitted that capital spending will be cut." Brown looks flustered, and again goes on about "spending now".

1212: Now Cameron sets out how the 10 percent cuts figure comes from the "Government's own figures," adding that - going off some of the claims Ed Balls has made about health and education policy - you may as well call Brown "Mr 13.5 percent".

1213: Shameless stuff from Brown.  He seizes on Cameron saying that "unemployment will rise" (erm, it will) and says that this is "Tory policy".

1214: Cameron: "I have to say, Mr Speaker, that this is one of the most feeble performances I've ever seen from this Prime Minister."  And then a great quip: "The only person we want to add to the unemployment rolls is the Prime Minister..."

Brown says that there won't be a spending review.  His constant refrain is that Government is "spending now," and that the Tories would cut jobs, Sure Start centres etc.  He ends by referring to "Tory tax cuts for the few".

1217: Clegg rounds on Cameron and Brown, saying that the former won't "increase public spending now" and that the latter won't "identify the savings that need to be made in the future."

Brown says that the Government has taken "difficult decisions" to get the deficit down.  And they are?  "Efficiency savings, an increase in the top rate of tax..."  Meanwhile, the Coffee House debt counter keeps going up, up up.

1220: Backbench questions now.  Brown says that the Government are in talks with Corus over jobs.

1221: In response to a question on capital spending from David Gauke, Brown says that the Government are "bringing forward investment".  This PMQs is really showing how muddy Brown's "Labour investment vs Tory cuts" message is getting.

1223: "New investment in training" etc. etc. etc.

1224: Mark Simmonds asks what cuts in health expenditure the Government is planning post-2011.  Brown says that they're planning to "increase investment" in the health service.

1225: Denis MacShane sets up Brown to attack the Tories on their new group in the European Parliament.

More from Brown on "bringing investment forward".  It's almost like he's admitting to "scorched earth" policy...

1228: Brown expresses his "disappointment" about the actions of the Iranian government.

1230: The Tory backbenches are really pushing the spending issue.  Adam Holloway asks Brown to confirm what departments would see spending cuts after 2012.  Brown: "I don't know why they're talking about 2011, when they've cut spending in 2009, 2010..."

1232: And that's it.

VERDICT: A solid performance from, and victory for, David Cameron.  The Tory leader is getting stronger on the spending issue, while Brown is grasping around for new ways to develop his investment-vs-cuts dividing line.  The PM pushed his new diversion today - concentrating on "spending now" - but it just highlighted how muddy his central message has become, and sounded like the retreat it was.  Another of the thousand cuts to his premiership.