David Blackburn

PMQs Live Blog | 25 November 2009

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Stay tuned for live coverage from 1200.

12:03: Here we go. Brown gets things underway with the weekly Butcher's Bill and remembrance of those killed or otherwise affected by the floods in Cumbria.

12:06: And here comes Cameron - he follows Brown's thanksgiving lead. Cameron asks how quickly temporary bridges across the Derwent in Cumbria can be constructed. Brown doesn't know as yet as he and the Secretary of State await an engineers report. Brown adds that all costs will be met by the Department of Environment.

Cameron wants eveything that can be done for those affected be done. Brown rambles and says he will do everything he can and lists a host of new tractor stats about electricity and landlords. All very welcome information for those affected

12:10: Cameron wants to know if Hizb ut-Tahrir, a particularly horrendous Islamic extremist group, have recieved any public money? Oh dear, correspondance between Ed Balls and one of his ministers proves that Hizb ut-Tahrir have founded a school. Profoundly embarrassing for Brown and the government. Brown is shifting around. You can tell how desperate he is - here's the line about the vast majority of Muslims in this country are law abiding peaceful people and that Cameron should wait for the report and the evidence. Cameron seems to have the evidence already.

The government doesn't have a grip on Islamic extremism is Cameron's line and he wins.

12:17: Nick Clegg - Iraq, the Lib Dems favourite dated bugbear. Clegg wants the Chilcot inquiry's findings to be published in full except for those issues pertaining to national security. This is interesting, Clegg's got a piece of paper from the government to the inquiry stating 9 separate criteria under which findings can be supressed, not all of them, Clegg claims, seem terribly serious. It's about this government's shameful culture of secrecy, says Clegg.

Brown has no answer - it's a train wreck of a session for the PM at the moment.

12:20: A question about the bank charges case - Brown assures the House that Northern Rock, RBS and Lloyds Group have cut their charges in recent weeks. I can tell you from bitter experience that RBS at least have not followed his demands. The forthcoming Finance Bill will strengthen the rights of customers Brown argues.

12:22: A Cormack classic: When did the Prime Minister realise he was infallible?

12:25: Brown answers a plant from a Labour MP about the government's record on fighting terrorism, specifically relationship between ACPO and the government, and ends up talking about the Tories' IHT 'aspiration'. Doesn't work as well this week.

12:30: Copenhagen - Brown re-iterates his desire to broker a deal. Obama seems unwilling, so I think Brown's setting himself up for a fall here.

12:31: A Tory MP wants to know what is being done to deal with Karzai and corruption. Brown says he is on it, ponting to yesterday's announcement.

12:33: Labour plant about Sir Hugh Orde and the politicisation of the Police Force. Personally, I think both Labour and the Tories are as bad as each other on this, elected commissioners will provide accountability. 

12:34: Evan Harris on Catholic Succession - will Brown arrest this discriminatory Act of Succession, relevant for the whole commonwealth. Brown says he will.

Alistair Darling's making a statement about the secret loans now - trots out the spin line about the markets and how close we came to collapse. No real explanation about the length of the delay in disclosure and the HBOS/Lloyds merger.

Osborne - we support these actions as a financial principle of lender of last resort. But he wants to know about King and Darling's decision to delay announcement, why not in January? And the HBOS/Lloyds question? Is it acceptable that the Bank can leave these things off its balance book? Does the fact these sums were required illustrate the failure of the tripartite regulatory system, which is going to be enforced in next week's bill.

Verdict: Both Clegg and Cameron had damning revelations up their sleeves. Some might be surprised by Cameron's tack - not talking about the economy, the secret loan deal etc, but this was inspired - he's made the government look soft on and infact funded an educational front for an organisation that views non-combatants as infidels and therefore fair game. Clegg's disclosures were similarly damaging for Brown. The PM lost heavily.