PMQs as-it-happened

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Follow our live coverage of the final prime minister's questions before the long summer recess here.

11:20 – Good morning, one and all. This is Alex Stevenson for a third day of live blogging – my fingers are about to fall off – bringing you the latest developments from the Palace of Westminster. It feels like we're still in 'morning after the night before' mode right now, as politicians size up where we're heading next on Lords reform. The question now is whether Ed Miliband chooses to address the issue in PMQs. It seems unlikely to me, as the more he talks about it in public could compromise the private talks taking place in the next few weeks. So perhaps he'll have to talk about something else. We'll find out what shortly after midday.

11:38 - One thing we can expect from Miliband will be a reference to Cameron's "finger-jabbing" row with one of the Tory rebel ringleaders, Jesse Norman. The story of the PM's misplaced temper is dominating Westminster this morning. politics.co.uk's editor Ian Dunt has written about the threats, defiance and general drama of yesterday - have a read.

11:55 - International development questions is just wrapping up, and the Commons chamber is once again very full. MPs won't have the spectacle of the PMQs bearpit until the start of September, so they look intent on making the most of it. PMQs will be getting underway in about five minutes or so.

11:58 - David Cameron takes his seat in the Commons chamber. He grins across at the Labour backbenchers. There's going to be a lot of finger-jabbing at him in the next half-hour, I think it's fairly easy to predict.

12:02 - And we are now underway. Cameron pays tribute to the police constable shot and killed in Clacton-On-Sea on Monday. "His death is a reminder of the great debt we owe everyone in our police force," he says.

12:03 - Gerry Sutcliffe, the Labour MP, asks the first question. It's about copyright law being amended by secondary legislation - and suggests this might have something to do with the 23 meetings ministers have had with Google. Cameron gives a very brief answer.

12:04 - Lib Dem Greg Mulholland asks a question about his local healthcare services. Cameron praises Mulholland for speaking up for his local hospital, but says the purpose of the review causing trouble is about "trying to save lives".

12:06 - Now time for the main exchanges - a big 'hear hear' for Ed Miliband. He also pays tribute to the PC who died. And then comes his opening question: he reminds the prime minister of quoting Cameron before the election. "He paused and with characteristic humility he said 'because I think I'd be good at it'." Lots of laugher and cheering at that from Labour. "Where did it all go wrong?" The PM responds by listing the government's achievements. Lots of cheers from the Tories in response. "I can't read out all the list of all the things he got wrong, we haven't got time!"

12:07 - "They're obviously well whipped tonight, a shame it didn't happen last night!" More mocking laugher. Now Miliband refers to "fisticuffs in the lobby". Cameron looks rather wounded by all this. Does he blame the Tory backbenchers or the Lib Dems, Miliband asks. Cameron is dismissive of Miliband's "half-baked gossip". He calls for all those who support Lords reform to "support the means" to bring Lords reform about. "How utterly pathetic!"

12:09 - Miliband is moving on quickly, now going back to the Budget. After all the U-turns, he asks, why does a banker earning £1 million get a £40,000 tax cut next April? Cameron is on the defensive once again. But Miliband's voice is rising high as he points out Cameron didn't answer about the "millionaires' tax cut". "Weak," Cameron shouts across the despatch box. "What could be weaker than 91 MPs [rebelling]?" Miliband responds.

12:11 - After another defence of the Budget from Cameron, the prime minister attacks Labour's record. "Never once an apology for the mess they left this country in!" Miliband repeats the "no answer" complaint. So he then asks about "the biggest issue of all" - the economy. He hasn't delivered anything since the new year but a "double-dip recession made in Downing Street". Cameron is reduced to listing government achievements - very Gordon Brown-esque. "We are now a net exporter of cars since 1976!" is among them. Not especially effective. Miliband's end-of-term report approach is working well. Cameron spends ages attacking New Labour once again.

12:13 - Tory backbenchers hold Miliband up by shouting 'more!' but the Labour leader comes back: "The redder he gets the less he convinces people." Cameron is looking quite red, isn't he? Miliband, by contrast, seems washed out but confident. Like a euphoric patient just emerging from surgery. "He didn't just lose the confidence of his party last night - he's losing the confidence of the country." Cameron comes back on the 'red' line, attacking 'Red Ed'. After a brief interruption from Bercow the PM continues the attack, lashing into Miliband. "We know what he's against, but when on earth are we going to find out what he's for?"

12:14 - The first backbencher sounds utterly barking. Anne Morris' yelling voice is somewhat alarming. Would be useful in a force 10 gale, but a little overblown in this context. "More!" the Tories yell - they liked it. Cameron is grinning. "Very good to see the honourable lady on such feisty form!" he tells her. Turns out she was asking about colleges, but such was her shrieking it was actually quite hard to tell.

12:15 - Teresa Pearce, by contrast, is much more placid. Which gives us an opportunity to assess the Miliband-Cameron clash. I think the prime minister came back very well, but this was a strong performance from EdM - one of his best. Both sets of MPs will think their leader won (privately as well as publicly).

12:16 - Andrew Bridgen (one of the rebels last night) asks a question about council tax, thoroughly partisan, to try to underline how loyal he is. Cameron's very happy to do a bit of Labour-bashing. "We back the workers, they back the shirkers," the PM declares.

12:18 - Graham Stringer (another Tory rebel) asks the next question, about the Territorial Army and the Army cuts. Richard Graham gives Cameron a chance to talk about the Libyan elections. The PM praises the authorities for having secured the chance of a "successful democracy".

12:19 - Another NHS cuts question, from Labour's Karen Buck, about accident and emergency unit cuts in her neck of the woods in north London. The PM says £12.5 million extra has been put into the NHS - and says Labour has opposed that extra funding. It's up to local clinicians and GPs, he says.

12:20 - Sir Alan Haselhurst, the former deputy Speaker, asks for a "major upgrade" of a local train line. Standing up for commuters, there. The PM says the new rail franchise in East Anglia will require "affordable investment" to help improve services. So that's alright, then.

12:21 - Jim Dobbin (bearded but bald), a Labour MP, is very concerned about the use of asbestos abroad. A well-timed question, as Cameron is seeing the head of the World Health Organisation this afternoon. "He makes a very strong point," Cameron says.

12:22 - David Davis, who Cameron beat for the Tory leadership in 2005, raises the case of the BA crucifix worker - her case is up before the European court of human rights. Cameron says he agrees with Davis, for once, and hopes the law can be changed. But Davis said in his question that the government opposed the lady in question. Has Cameron signalled something of a U-turn there? Might have to check that one out...

12:24 - This is a very internationalist PMQs. Martin Horwood, the Lib Dem MP, is worried about the situation in Egypt. "I very much hope the current tension can be resolved, Cameron says.

12:25 - Lillian Greenwood, Labour, raises pensioners' bus passes - a big issue in every constituency. Cameron's reply - "we are keeping all those promises" to old people - gets a healthy dose of mocking laughter from Labour.

12:27 - After a question about the Olympics (Cameron is pro-Olympics, in case you were wondering) we get a question from Simon Hart (another Tory rebel). He asks a question about British farmers. "We want to see a fairer deal between farmers and supermarkets," Cameron says firmly. He reveals that an extra was of cash is being released, too.

12:29 - A question about tuition fees for A-level students next. Cameron complains that Labour have "absolutely no idea how they would pay" for their policies. Then comes Adam Afriyie (another Tory rebel), who asks for the political parties "to review the coalition agreement for the future". Cameron says in a coalition there is a need "to work out what you want to achieve". Another list of the government's achievements. "I'm committed to making sure we look at all the next steps we want to take." In case you hadn't noticed, the effective answer to the question was 'no'. I understand that's because when the Lib Dems started exploring their options on this, they discovered they don't actually have enough political capital to get anything like what they want.

12:31 - Sir Bob Russell, the Lib Dem who calls everyone 'comrade', complains about cuts to the Army. "History is not kind to prime ministers who are perceived to have left our country without a strong defensive capability," he complains. Cameron points out Russell has a big Army garrison in Colchester. But he denies Russell's point. He says the Army will be a "similar size" - ignoring the 20,000 personnel who will be losing their jobs. "This country under this coalition government will always be well defended," he declares.

12:32 - Emily Thornberry calls on George Osborne to apologise after last week's Libor spat with Ed Balls. Cameron starts defending Osborne, who he points out said Balls has "some questions to answer". Cameron has pre-prepared for this one - he reads out a list of questions for Balls to answer. In response, Tory MPs yell out "BALLS!"

12:33 - Following a question about trains in Shropshire (bo-ring!) comes one from Labour's Helen Goodman about a cancer patient having her employment support allowance stopped. She says 7,000 cancer patients are in a similar situation. Cameron says there are two types of employment support allowance- Andrew Lansley nods carefully from the bar of the House. 

12:34 - And with that the session comes to an end. It's followed by a statement from health secretary Andrew Lansley, but most MPs are rushing off to have their lunch. Or see what we've written about them, perhaps. Time to write up some news, methinks. Thanks for following this coverage - there won't be another PMQs until September 5th! See you then.
 

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