Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 20 January 2010

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Stay tuned for live coverage from 1200.

1200: Still waiting.   You can watch live coverage here.

1202: And here we go.  Brown leads with condolences for fallen soldiers, as well as for those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

First question from Danny Alexander on rural Britian losing out on broadband services.  Brown says that 95 percent of the country will have fast broadband soon - and that efforts will be taken to deal with the remaining 5 percent.

1204: Tony Wright on the "outrage" of the Cadburys take-over.  Brown says that has received assurances from Kraft that British workers will keep their jobs.  There are rumblings to the contrary, though...

1205: Cameron now.  He kicks off with Haiti, and asks Brown to update the House on what action Britain is taking and will take in the event of future disasters.  Reminiscent of last week's opening question on gritting.  Keeping things civil and statesmanlike - for now.

1207: Brown gives an "everything we can" style answer.

1208: Cameron asks Brown what "consideration" he is giving to helping out the structures of government in Haiti.

1209: Brown says that he has spoken to Barack Obama and Ban Ki-Moon about these issues.

1210: You won't hear that from Brown very often: "I agree with the leader of the Opposition".  The discussion is still on Haiti.

1212: Cameron turns to a Broken Britian theme now, and the case of the 10 year-old and 12-year-old boys who tortured children in Doncaster.  He questions how much will be revealed by the review into this.

1212: Brown says he thinks the serious case review will reveals flaws in the social services.

1213: Cameron's getting more heated now, as he asks how so much could have gone wrong, for so long.  He adds: "Serious case reviews are not leading to the correct actions being taken."  Brown's response is that they've got to wait until the review is published before drawing conclusions.  You suspect that, rightly or wrongly, the PM's take won't be recevied with much sympathy by the public.

1215: Cameron bites back, saying that, all too often, these reviews "aren't worth the paper they're written on".  Brown can't help but sound like a technocrat in comparison.

1217: Cameron points out the BBC's claim that the review's summary (which will be published) and the full review (which won't be) "don't match up".  Brown is looking uncomfortable, falling back on stock phrases like "lessons we've learnt".

1219: Brown's final point is that Cameron is asking questions when "he hasn't read the report either".  He looks flustered.

1220: Clegg stands to jeers and derision - which says more about the House than it does about Clegg.

1222: Clegg asks about the role of the government and taxpayers' cash in the Cadburys takeover.  He makes a rather circuitous claim about public cash funding unemployment.  Brown offers a derisory response.

1224: Backbench questions.  Brown completely ignores one question to deploy the lines he clearly prepared (but couldn't use) for his exchange with Cameron - a convoluted jibe about Tory marriage policy and a reference to today's employment figures.  "Do nothing Tories," yadda, yadda, yadda...

1225: Brown's using all his attacks on the Tories now: marriage, employments, etc. etc.  He slips up, though, when he says that it's telling that Cameron didn't ask questions about the economy - this might seem like Brown is dismissing the importance of the Tory leader's questions about the Doncaster case.

1227: Plant alert.  A Labour backbecnher (I msised who) asks a question about "how much the government should pay to make sure [couples] tie the knot?"  Brown's response is his snappiest yet, but it's still pretty groanworthy: "It's the Tories who are tied in knots".

1230: Did someone switch the tape with last week's PMQs? More stuff on the Tories, marriage and - there it is - posters from Brown.  The Labour benches are cheering, but it seems a bit tired.

1231: Brown says that the public deserve a referndum on AV voting systems.

1234: Brown's going into his statement on security now.  I'll quit live-blogging now - my verdict will be up shortly.

VERDICT: Well, the jokes about posters and marriage policy partially worked for Brown last week, but they fell completely flat this time around.  The repetition didn't help, of course.  But the main reason was a controlled performance from David Cameron.  The Tory leader tends to be at his best on the theme of Broken Britain - and, here, Brown just seemed alternately technocratic and petty in comparison.  A solid, statesmanlike victory for Cameron.

UPDATE: Worth reading Paul Waugh on a couple of announcements hidden away in all the to 'n' fro.