Peter Hoskin

PMQs live blog | 6 January 2010

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Stay tuned for live coverage of PMQs from 1200.

1159: Should be kicking off soon.  You can watch proceedings live here.

1202: And here we go.  Brown starts with the usual condolences for fallen British servicemen - and adds a tribute for the late Labour MP, David Taylor.

1204: Brian Donohoe asks for an update on the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day.  Brown lists new security measures, and says that he's looking to better coordinate intelligence efforts.

1206: Cameron now.  He adds condolences for British servicemen and David Taylor.

1207:
The Tory leader starts with our debt problem.  He lists international organisations - the OECD etc. - which have warned about Britain's debt.

1208: Predictable response from Brown, saying that British debt is still lower as a percentage of GDP than US, Japan, France, Germany etc.  That ignores how quickly British debt has exploded and that we're going to overtake some of those countries soon.

1209: Plenty of laughs from the Tory benches when Brown says that the Government has got a fiscal responsibility plan.  Ludicrously, Brown says that it includes the 50p tax rate - which will most likely lose money for the Exchequer.  But there's a sting when he adds that the Tories support this.

1210:
Brown quips that Cameron's "year of change" is all about the Tory leader changing his mind on policy - a nod to the confusion over married tax allowances on Monday.  It's pretty poor from Brown, but he seems on punchy form.

1210: Brown and Cameron are now trading quotes on the public finances.  The IMF, Alistair Darling, and so on and so on.

1212: Brown refers to the Tories' marriage policy again - seems he wants to go heavy on this.  Claims it will cost £4+ billion, which IDS has already said needn't be the case.

1214: Cameron has got prepared lines for this attack.  He says that the "only divorce" is between Brown and reality.

1215: This is unedifying stuff.  Plenty of jeers from both sides, Brown not answering questions, Cameron not quite landing blows.

1216: Cameron has called for an election a couple of times now.

1217: Brown starts a response: "[Cameron's] got to do better than that.  He's got to answer some questions on policy some time."  Erm, but not in Prime Minister's Questions, surely?

1218: Brown says that the UK is pushing Israel to get more aid to Gaza.

1219:
Condolences from Clegg.  His first question: what is aspirational about a tax system in which the lowest earners pay a higher percentage of their income in tax than higher earners?

1220: Brown: "This is why we introduced the tax credit system."

1221: Brown has twisted this round, saying that "presumably" the Lib Dems will now support the government's "soak the rich" measures.  Combative, but much more restrained than his exchange with Cameron.

1231: Apologies, CoffeeHousers  technical problems are getting in the way of my live-blogging.  By way of filling you in on the last ten minutes, the most notable backbench question was Ann Winterton speaking out against AGW theory.  Brown uses the opportunity to say that Cameron can't even convince his backbenchers about climate change.  Overall verdict coming soon - website difficulties permitting...

VERDICT:
Forget the verdict.  This story will rather overshadow what happened over the dispatch box.