Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 10 February 2010

Text settings

Stay tuned for live coverage from 1200.

1200: And we're off, bang on time.  First question on Labour's elderly care plans.  Brown delivers a load of platitudes about how the government is committed to better care.  Even adds that he hopes for cross-party backing.

1201: Cameron now.  He leads on elderly care plans too - and how they will be funded.  With a nod to a letter in today's Times, he adds that people who will have to implement it thinks its disastrous.

1202: Brown's on fiesty, if typically disingenous, form.  He says that he "knows how [Cameron] likes personality politics".  His substantial point, though, is that the Tories supported the Bill in the Commons.

1205: Cameron effectively repeats the point with his second question.  Brown effectively repeats his answer, with added references to "U-turns".

1206: Ah, here's the poster now.  Brown says the Tories will have to "bring down" last night's poster because it is wrong.

1206: Despite that, Cameron replies quite convincingly: "We simply want to know where the money is coming from".

1207: Cameron's on quite good form, despite the obstacles set against him.  "This isn't about the elderly, this is all about the Labour party."

1208: But Brown's doing his typical bulldozing act: Tories have "no policies" yadda, yadda, yadda.

1209: Now Cameron brings up the death tax specifically - mentioning how it's an "option" in the Green Paper.  As I said earlier, this would have been more effecitve if the Tories hadn't jumped the gun with that poster yesterday.

Brown really not answering the question when Cameron asks him whether he can confirm whether or not the government have ruled out a death tax.  His evasion could make this a good PMQs for the Tories.  Don't know why he didn't just parrot Andy Burnham's lines from yesterday.

1211: Bercow has had to quieten the chamber twice now.

1212: Clegg's up now.  An effective question: he asks why soliders in Afghanistan are receiving less remuneration than new recruits to the police and fire services.  Brown says that military pay is going up at a faster rate.

1214: Quietly powerful performance from Clegg.  He says that the government is "getting its priorities wrong in Afghanistan ... cut the bureaucrats and get more money to out frontline troops."

1215: Weird line from Brown: he says it's "not fair to tell our troops that they do not have the equipment they need." Hm.

1217: Into the backbench questions now.  Brown immediately dives into an attack on the Tories for not "meeting [Labour's] cancer guarantee".  These guarantees are going to feature a lot between now and the election...

1220: More attacks on the Tories from Brown, while avoiding the questions himself.  This time it's police numbers.

1221: Gordon Prentice says that the "next election is being bought by a tax exile".  Brown fills in the gap by bringing up Ashcroft by name.  He says the Tories "have questions to answer".  Predictable.

1222: Questions on Iraq, research funding and Sri Lanka.

1224: Oh dear, Brown rattles on about the Tories "not supporting our guarantees".  This is fast becoming the new "Tory cuts".

1225: The House heats up as Gwyn Prosser uses a question to cast aspersions about the Tory candidate opposing him in the election.  Bercow intervenes, saying that the PM has no influence or say over Tory candidates.  Brown's still allowed to answer the question, though.

1227: There's the old favourite.  In response to John Redwood, Brown bangs on about "Tory cuts".

1228: Brown says he will restore the link between pensions and earnings.

More evasion from Brown when it comes to his alleged "slush fund".  He says that the Labour party speaks on such matters, not him.

1229: Questions on visual impairment and a Tobin tax.  On the latter, Brown claims that "we will get an agreement on a global financial levy ... in the not too distant future."

1230: And that's it, dead on half-past.  My verdict coming soon.

VERDICT:  Odd one, that.  While the Tories' crude poster stacked some of the chips against Cameron, the Tory leader majored on elderly care regardless – and ended up landing some pretty hefty blows.  Above all, he would have been grateful for Brown's evasiveness over the possibility of a death tax.  Rather than following Andy Burnham's example, by claiming that the death tax isn't really on the cards,  Brown simply avoided the question altogether.  That won't go down well on the news reports later.  So, a clear win for Cameron.  Oh, and a mention for Nick Clegg, too, whose measured performance was probably the pick of the bunch.