Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 10 June 2009

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Live coverage of PMQs from 1200.

1202: Here's Brown now.  First question from Andrew Selous (Con) on specialist hospitals.  Guess where Brown goes with this: he brings up Andrew Lansley's "cuts" comment this morning (even though Lansley was talking about areas other than health).  I suspecty he may bring this up again.

1204: Second question a Labour plant: "Will the PM turn his back on the 10 percent cuts that the Tories are commited to..."  As Fraser puts it: "Brown's Budget, Brown's cuts".  This is shameless stuff from the Dear Leader.

1205: Cameron kicks off saying how "delighted" he is to see the Brown still opposite him.  He then asks about Brown's electoral reform plan.

1206: Brown: "Finally, after many, many weeks, a question about policy."  This is disingenuous but fiery rhetoric from Brown.

1207: Another gaffe from the Speaker.  He accidentally moves on from Cameron after one question - laughter, and then Cameron gets his other questions.  Cameron pushes Brown to condemn the BNP, which he does.

1208: Cameron asks Brown to confirm reports that that there may be a referendum on electoral reform.

1210: Brown quips that "I said he's mentioned policy, but he now seems to be putting self-interest first."  The Tory benches howl with laughter at Brown's hypocrisy.

1210: Cameron's reponse is direct and effective: "That response shows why you are a figure of ridicule across the country ... I think we have a right to know about the PM's plans for constitutional reform.

1212: Cameron's warming up now.  He lays into Brown's meagre legacy: "Not just the most useless government we've had in history, although it is..."  And pushes the point that Labour have left it until the end of their third term to deal with the electoral system.

1213: Brown: "10 percent cuts" etc.

1214: Cameron's response to the Tory cuts attack is pitch-perfect.  He says - rightly - that Labour have hidden 7 percent cuts in their Budget.  He adds that the next election won't be about "cuts vs invesment" but about the Government's mismanagement.

1215: Brown reads out public spending projections, and says that there aren't cuts in the Budget.  Quite simply: the Dear Leader has just lied to the House.  An utter disgrace.  The Tory benches sound angry, and justifiably so.

1218: Clegg leads on the headless chicken charge, saying of Brown's housing/mortgage policy: "We've had more announcements that homes".  Good line.

1219: Brown reels off the usual tractor production statistics.

1220: Michael Meacher pushes Brown on when he will get the banks to lend to actors in the "real economy".  The Dear Leader's response: that there will be "£70 billion" extra money "from what there was last year".  Hm.

1222: Backbench questions on housing benefit and economic development in Cleethorpes.

1224: Brown: "We want to invest in the future.  Unfortunately, our opponents just want to cut."  Same old, same old.

1225: Another Labour backbench question on Tory plans to "cut" spending.  Guess what Brown brings up: yep, 10 percent cuts.  "This is the day when the Tories have revealed their manifesto for the next election," he says.  As always, Brown's enjoying this dividing line.

1227: Health-centric PMQs today: a question now on hospital superbugs.

1228: Here it is again: "We are prepared to provdide the investment that is necessary for jobs ... the Tories are only concerned about cuts."

1229: A Tory MP (I missed who) points out cuts in public services in this area.  Brown: "If he wants to talk about cuts, then I suggest he talks to [George Osborne]."  And then: "Some time [the Tories] will have to reveal how mny jurses, how mnay teachers, how many policemen ... will lose their jobs."  Our PM has no shame.  Disgraceful.

1231: PMQs over now, but Brown's segued into a statement on Parliamentary/electoral reform.  I'll keep blogging...

1232: Familiar words from Brown about how MPs come into Parliament to help people.

1233: Brown says that all past and future expense claims will be published online in the "next few days".  He says that expenses will be supervised by an independent body.  And MP will support the findings of Kelly review.

1235: Brown says that a Bill we be introduced "very soon", establishing a new Standards' committee for the Commons and the Lords.

1236: MPs will have to forge a new Code of Conduct - this will be debated and introduced before the summer adjournment.

1237: Brown: "There will be consultation with all sides of the house abour how to deal with inappropriate behavious by MPs."

1240: Brown talks about "involving the public".  He adds that over the next few months, the Government will put forward proposals on other matters of constitutional and parliamentary reform.

1241: Brown: "I personally favour a written constitution."  He says that a written constitution will come from the "widest possible debate with the British people themselves."  Looks like he's trying to do something historic...

1243: Brown says that all proposed reforms will come out of discussion with the public, other parties and external figures, such as academics.

1244:
"Let us seize the moment to life our politics to a higher standard."  Beyond hypocrisy.

1245: Brown says that the House should stand together for "integrity" - the Tories start laughing.

1245: Cameron begins his response by saying that we need a general election.

1246: Cameron: "There is much in this statement that I support ... not least because I proposed so much of it in my address to the Open University."

1247: Cameron makes the good point that Brown has been going on about constitutional reform since he first became PM - but "nothing has happened".  So far, the Tory leader is concentrating on ditching quangos and other unelected bodies.

1249: This is solid stuff from the Tory leader.  He brings up Labour's broken promise to hold a referendum on the European Constitution.  And raises one of the best Tory ideas for transparency: to publish details about public spending.

1250: Cameron says that "People don't want an 'alternative vote' - but the chance to vote out this government".

1252: In response, Brown puts on his Son of the Manse voice, saying that "all the parties need to come together ... the Tories need to recognise that all parties have been affected by the expenses scandal."  Careful, Gordon: you might be getting a bit party political there.

1255: Brown says that he suspects that "only the Tories" want to "turn back the debate on reform".

1256: Another good line from Clegg: "I welcome this deathbed call for change from someone who has blocked reform for the last ten years."

1257: The Lib Dem leader again raises his proposal that parliamentarians forego their summer recess until "all this is sorted".

1258: Surprisingly acidic attack on the Tories from Clegg, saying that "they won't want to change this cosy Westminster stitch-up."

1300: Brown: "Let's be honest: constitutional reform has been blocked by the House of Lords not the House of Commons."

1302: Some backbenchers are having their say now, but I'm going to sing off.  Thanks for tuning in.  Expect more on Coffee House about Brown's disgraceful lie on public spending.