Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 20 October 2010

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QUICK VERDICT: More heat than light today, but Cameron easily got the better of Ed Miliband. Now to the Spending Review live blog.

1230: Cameron says that as cuts are made, the government will have to reform the way it does criminal justice. This is a prelude for the deep cuts that the Home Office and Justice department are expected to face in the spending review.

1228: The Lib Dem MP asks whether Cameron believes that better-off graduates should bear more for their university costs. Cameron says that he agrees on principle, and claims that "everyone in the House" wants the "same thing": a fair and well-funded university system.

Cameron says that the spending review will contain answers on social housing - but hints that the results may be better than expected.

1225: Teed up by Nick Boles, Cameron highlights that the coalition is ringfencing the NHS.

1224: Cameron says that the North East has a "bright future", particularly in view of capital spending projects that will be in the spending review.

1222: In reference to Alan Johnson's speech on the economy earlier this week, the PM repeats the dictum he fired at Ed Miliband: "You can't attack a plan, if you don't have a plan."

Cameron on the cuts: "We are not doing this because we want to, but because we have to."

1220: Another question of Europe - after a few months on the backburner, this seems to be becoming a stronger message from Tories. Cameron stresses that he opposed EU budget rises.

1219: Second question on Europe. And, again, Cameron suggests that it's "unacceptable" that the EU isn't making similar tough decisions to the UK. 

1217: A Tory backbencher (sorry, I missed who) quotes Mao's Little Red Book to the effect that government's should manage the public finances thriftily - if even he can admit that, why can't Labour? Groan.

1216: Cameron repeats the message on AV that he made in his conference speech: "We should try and win the argument in the country, rather than stopping the bill in the House."

1216: Cameron: the interim immigration cap was brought in to prevent a flood of applications before more fixed caps were introduced.

1214: The PM shows his support, once again, for England's bid for the football World Cup.

1213: Cameron highlights that Britain will meet its goal of giving 0.7 percent of GDP in international aid.

1212: We're into backbench questions. We've had science funding and the release of the kidnapped aid worker Frans Barnard so far.

1210: Cameron much stronger than he was last week. He points out that Ed Miliband was an adviser to Brown when the latter was talking about "no more boom and bust". And he ends, "You can't attack a plan, if you haven't got a plan." Roars from the Tory benches.

1209: Not much support from Miliband for the cuts here. He says the government is "taking the biggest gamble in a generation."

1208: And so it goes on. Miliband pushing Cameron on whether the spending review will damage employment; Cameron responding that the coalition is taking necessary measures.

1207: Ed Miliband picks up on Cameron talking to Osborne before he takes a question, but incorrectly refers to the "shadow Chancellor". Cameron returns: "I know it's a novel concept, but in this government the Prime Minister and Chancellor actually talk to each other."

1206: A different line of attack from Miliband: he asks whether Cameron will accept that the Spending Review has failed if there are net job losses next year. Cameron waxes on about the legacy that the coalition inherited. A bit non-descript, this bout.

MiliE pushes the same line: does the PM agree with Clarke. Cameron responds as he did before. More heat than light so far.

1203: Cameron claims that Clarke was referring to economic fears in the whole of Western Europe. He pushes Miliband to provide the complete quote.

1202: Ed Miliband quips that Ken Clarke is part of the "squeezed middle" because of the "logjam on the front bench". He quotes the Justice Secretary saying that there is still the risk of a double dip recession.

1200: Here's Cameron now, flanked by Osborne and Cameron. In repsonse to the first question, he says that he will push for a freeze in British contributions to the EU budget.

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