Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 3 November 2010

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VERDICT: Perhaps the snappiest exchange between Cameron and Miliband so far, with both men on combative form. Miliband's charge was that, from tuition fees to child benefit, the coalition is breaking promises that it made before the election. And Cameron's counter was that he has had to take tough action to deal with the mess that Labour left behind, and that Ed Miliband has nothing to offer to that process other than kneejerk opposition. As exchanges across the dispatch box go, that's pretty standard stuff – but at least it was packaged with some wit (although little real insight) today. A score draw.

1232: And that's it. My short verdict coming up.

1230:
Stephen McCabe quips about prisoners voting for the new elected police commissioners, but Cameron suggests that this is yet another example for why "[giving the vote to prisoners] is such a bad idea."

1229: Cameron: "It makes me 'physically ill' that prisoners will have the right to vote."

1228:
Another exchange which is becoming more an more common. Labour MP (in this case, Dennis Skinner): why don't you take on the bankers? Cameron: we've introduced a bank levy, which is more than Labour managed in 13 years.

1227: Cameron refers to the NHS ringfence in response to a Labour attack on the health service: "you should have a word with your own shadow health secretary."

1225:
Cheer 'n' jeers as Lindsay Roy says that Cameron "unfairly" blames the actions of the last government for the measures he has to take now. But then a strange question: what is the PM's biggest mistake? Cameron declines to answer.

1223: Labour's Chris Ruane asks why the government is planning to reduce the number of elected MPs, while adding to the number of unelected members of the Lords. Cameron concentrates on the former - an issue where I'm sure the public is fully behind the coalition.

1220: PMQs seems to be winding down already. Cameron responds to Labour backbench challenges with another dose of WWLD?

1217: Here's Hazel Blears, with her hair more brown than ginger. David Wooding asks the question on everyone's mind: is is something Harriet Harman said?

1215: Cameron points out, rightly, that Labour have spoken of looking at the same kind of housing benefit reforms that the coalition is introducing now. So their opposition now, he claims, is opportunistic. This is one of Cameron's favourite attacks at the moment.

1214:
A Labour backbencher raises the story about Cameron's personal photographer again: "what will the 500,000 publec sector workers who are set to lose their jobs think?" Cameron doesn't really answer the question, but instead asks whether Labour want to engage on serious matter.

1213:
Ed Miliband is on relatively swashbuckling form, saying that Cameron has broken promises on tuition fees, VAT, child benefit: "this is what Broken Britain means." Cameron is up to the challenge, though, and runs through the policies that Labour are against, "but what are they for?" More WWLD?

1211: This is degenerating into a bar-room brawl. Ed Miliband has a gag about Cameron's personal photographer, which ends: "just a little to the right Nick." Cameron looks aghast, and says, "is that what his opposition has become?"

1210:
Ed Miliband keeps pressing on the tuition fee rise, suggesting that it is a matter of trust. Like last week, Cameron asks: what would Labpur do? (WWLD?)

1208: Cameron reponds aggressively. He suggests that the Lib Dems were "courageous," and that their decision came on the back of due deliberation of the recommendations contained in the Browne review, "which the previous government set up". The PM ends strongly, suggesting that Labour have swapped principle for opportunism.

1207: Now Miliband is stepping it up. He points out that Cameron talks about "trust," but "what would he say about those members of his government who pledged not to increase tuition fees."

1206:
Another restrained question from MiliE: how is the government working with Yemen, and the Friends of Yemen organisation, to tackle terror in that country.

1204: Ed Miliband now, after Elizabeth Truss stands up for an RAF base in her constituency. The Labour leader starts with a straightforward request for an update on the aftermath of last week's foiled bomb plot.

1201:
Cameron starts off, as usual, with condolences for the fallen in Afghanistan. The first question is from Labour's John Robertson. He claims that Cameron broke a promise to protect Educational Maintenance Allowance - what other promises will he break? Cameron points out that the government is dealing with "broken public finances."

Stay tuned for live coverage from 1200.