David Blackburn

PMQs Live Blog | 9 December 2009

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Stay tuned for live coverage from 1200.

12:01: And we're off with the butcher's bill, remembering the 100th British servicemen to be killed in Afghanistan this year.

12:02: Robert Neal points out that Spain isn't in the G20 and hasn't been in recession as long as Britain - is the rain in Spain mainly in his brain.

Brown responds by saying that he invited the Spanish Prime Minister to the G20 meetings, so Spain was for all intents and purposes as member of the G20. He's hasn't wriggled out of that.

12:05: Here's Cameron. He's on Afghanistan - this is effectively our last chance, can we await for every element of the strategy to be in place?

Brown is clear that everything is inplace and the troops are properly supported and Brown gives a few Hummvie stats t oback him up.

12:07: Cameron wants British over extension in Helmand should cease and we should we follow the American concentrations as part of the surge in Helmand.

Brown says that there will be a thickening of British troops in certain areas and Britain's effort continues to support to the development of the ANA. Hasn't question, Cameron will pounce.

12:09: Cameron's got a stat up his sleeve - the Petreaus doctrine insists that troops have to be blanketed across population - there will be 30,000 US troops controlling 30% of Helmand; 10,000 British soldiers control the remaining 70%. Nothing makes the inherent danger of NATO's strategy more clear.

Brown is clear that there is a political consensus and he is working to change dispositions. Cameron says he will support the PM in full if Brown delivers.

12:12: Cameron wants the Kelly report's recommendations brought forward in legislation to renew the House of Commons.

Brown dithers. Cameron calls again.

12:15: Labour are still in good voice, Bercow is having to tick them off frequently - Kevin Barron raises the Zac Goldsmith issue once more. Rather a lame plant.

12:16: Clegg on fairness - he talks about poverty, child poverty and the winter fuel allowance. Brown defends his record with a list.

Clegg responds with his own list, including the horrific stat that children born in poverty die on average 14 years earlier than middle class children.

Brown re-iterates his list. But with the figures on stagnating social mobility and declining NHS services his record is not as he claims.

12:20: Brown defends SureStart and Early Intervention Work in preventing poverty - the benefits system remains in tact for the time being.

12:22: Another plant on the grounds of defending Labour's record on tax credits and poverty versus the Tories' tax cuts - it's the clear dividing line for the PBR.

12:29: Sir Alan Beith on the winter fuel allowance and the social tariff - this is quite a clever line from the Lib Dems, attacking Labour's record on confronting poverty. The Tories should do the same.

12:31: Adam Holloway asks what Gordon Brown thinks of Ben Bernanke? Brown gorbals - I think even he realises that the tripartite system is a mess.

VERDICT: A tame PMQs, certainly by last week's standards, and naturally we're waiting for the main event. From the Tories' perspective, Cameron held his own and has Brown on the back foot over expenses. Winning draw for the Tories on balance.