VERDICT: To paraphrase that famous football cliché, this was a session of two halves. Cameron put in a confident performance against what should have been the trickier set of questions: on the economy. But when it came to Ed Miliband’s second topic of choice, the NHS, it all went suddenly awry. The PM’s arguments were unusually messy and convoluted, lost in themselves. And he only made matters worse with his Winner-esque exhortation at a Labour frontbencher, “Calm down, dear!” You can argue whether it was sexist of the PM, or not, particularly as it’s not clear whom the remark was aimed at (although the smart money’s on Angela Eagle). But it was, at least, a moment of frustration that played up to the worst Flashman caricatures of the PM. All in all, he defeated himself today.
1231: And, after a few detours into AV, that’s it. My short verdict will be up soon.
1229: The Labour MP Paul Flynn suggests — gleefuly, one presumes — that the drive towards nuclear power will be “stillborn” after Fukushima. Cameron repeats the argument he made in PMQs a few weeks ago: that, of course, care needs to be taken, but Japan and its reactors are very different to Britain and her proposed reactors.
1227: More on the NHS, where Cameron deploys rather Brownite language to reassure on hospital closures: “Investment in the NHS, that is what is happening.”
1224: Ed Miliband has been sitting down for a while now, but we’re still on health questions. Cameron reassures his own backbencher, Sarah Wollaston, that the health reforms won’t have a negative impact. (And is that a dig at Bercow? As the House quietens to hear Wollaston, Cameron says that she “is clearly a future Speaker in the making).