Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 17 June 2009

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Live coverage of PMQs from 1200.

1202: Brown kicks off by marking this as the Speaker's final PMQs.  We'll have a "valedictory" session for the Speaker after PMQs.

1203: Oh dear. Labour's Alan Whitehead asks what would happen with climate change commitments if budgets were cut by "say, 10 percent".  Embarrassing.  I think we can see where this PMQs is going...

1204: Good, punchy start from Cameron, saying that this is "Prime Minister's planted questions".  And then asks Brown to confirm that he will cut real terms spending from 2011 (as the Budget says it will).

1205: Disgraceful stuff from Brown.  He says that the Tories have to to confirm that they would "cut spending this year".  And then bangs on about "10 percent", "investment" etc.

1206: Cameron asks the same question again, seeking the answer that Brown refused to give.

1207: Seriously, this is utterly horrendous stuff from Brown.  More "Labour investment vs Tory cuts" waffle, and he lists some tractor statistics which show "rises" in spending.  It's a Brownie, which ignores the IFS point about hidden cuts.

1208: Cameron's getting fiery and asking all the right questions.  He deciphers some of Brown's claims, adding that: "These are Labour cuts".

1210: Brown: "Labour investment and Tory cuts ... Inheritance tax cuts for the few..."  yadda, yadda, yadda.

1211:
Great move by Cameron, quoting folk like Robert Chote of the IFS saying that Brown "needs help to understand his own Chancellor's Budget."

1213:  Cameron is still pushing the same issue, and when he says "There's a recession all over Europe..." the Labour benches erupt in laughter (why?).  The Speaker has to shut them up, before Cameron can speak, but the Tory leader still can't be heard over the uproar.  He looks at Martin again, who takes his time before asking the Labour benches to quieten down again.

1214: When it comes, Cameron's point is hard-hitting.  He lists all the areas where Brown isn't being "straight with the public": cuts, Damian McBride, 10p tax etc.  The point: Brown is a liar - and it's a fair point.

1215: Brown responds by saying that Cameron is "bringing it down" to personalities. More "Labour investment and Tory cuts".

1216: Cameron: "A Prime Minister who won't even tell 10 percent of the truth".

1217: Brown claims that the Tories have to explain how many nurses, policemen, teachers etc. would lose their jobs because of "Tory cuts".  More bluster about "policies for the few".

1219: Clegg now.  Leads on the question of whether "banks' boardrooms" are to blame for the crunch, and whether regulation should be changed.

1220: Brown: "We are taking action to deal with that."

1221: Barry Sheerman steps up from the back benches, straining to be heard above the background noise.  His question is about job losses at Lloyds.

1222: Questions on Iraq inquiry and Heathrow.  Brown denies knowledge of a dossier on anti-third runway campaigners.

1223: This is just an utter charade. Another Labour backbencher stands up asking what "a 10 percent" cut would mean for crime figures.  Brown responds by claiming that "I notice that those on the benches opposite don't care about a 10 percent cut in police forces."  Yep, I feel slightly sick too.

1225: Questions on availability of knives and alcohol to young people; and the Union.

1226: Brown: "The simple fact is the SNP want complete independence; something that the Scottish people don't want."

1227: Lee Scott asks whether the "government" has recevied any "informal briefings" from Damian McBride. Brown's response: "I have not."  Hm.  Kinda ambiguous.

1230: Utterly nuts. Emily Thornberry asks what "Play the ball and not the man" means, and what it implies for PMQs.  Brown's demeneted reponse: "It means that only a few times has the leader of the Opposition asked questions about policy instead of personality..."  Erm.  This is worrying.

1232: And that's it.  Verdict shortly.

VERDICT: Quite simply, if you ever want to remind yourself of Brown's natural disingenuousness, his inability to think beyond crude dividing lines, and his utter unsuitability as Prime Minister of this country, then just tune into footage of this PMQs.  He stuck rigidly to the "Labour investment vs Tory cuts" theme, and was supported by a range of planted questions from sycophantic Labour MPs.  Not only is Cameron on the right side of the debate - a side which has rejected Brown's lies - but he also had most of the right responses and attacks.  A clear victory for the Tory leader.