PMQs as-it-happened

Prime minister's questions as it happens
Prime minister's questions as it happened

Review our live coverage of this week's prime minister's questions, as Ed Miliband seeks to make David Cameron's - and Theresa May's - week even worse.

By Alex Stevenson

12:35 - Ok, that's the end of this week's session - thoroughly predictable, you might say, but also thoroughly enthralling. Theresa May is really under pressure and it's far from clear whether she will survive. But having been defended so vigorously by the prime minister it will be harder to force her to quit. The onus could once again be on Bodie Clark to challenge the PM's claims next Tuesday - or before. For now, the "fiasco" continues. Thanks for following our coverage - see you next week!

12:34 - Bercow makes a quick statement at the end of PMQs, saying that parliament will observe the two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday. Didn't they do that sort of thing before this year?


12:33 - Sir Stuart Bell, the Middlesbrough MP who got into trouble earlier this year for not bothering to talk to his constituents, stands up to ask about the economic situation. Then comes Bill Cash, arch Tory eurosceptic, who wants "structural negotiations with treaties". "He would not be sent in with a broken bat, he would be sent in with a new bat and a united Conservative team behind it." Cameron: "There's a long history in my party of cricketing metaphors and Europe ending unhappily." He says treaty changes, if they come along, will result in a "good deal" for Britain.

12:31 - Alec Shelbrooke, Tory, asks yet another poppy question. Here's Cameron: "I think it's not just an issue of writing to Fifa, it's also asking Fifa's membership bodies including the FA to take a very strong line about this. This is not an issue of left or right or Labour or Conservative-  we all wear the poppy with pride. We do it to honour the fact these people sacrified their lives for us and I think a clear message from this government and this House will make them [Fifa] think again."

12:28 - After a question from Tory Jo Johnson on the eurozone crisis, which Cameron uses as an opportunity to lecture MPs about the benefits of deficit reduction and call for a strong "firewall" to stop contagion going any further, Labour's Andrew Gwynne says youth unemployment in his neck of the woods stands at 34%. The PM says the Future Jobs Fund, cut by the coalition, was more expensive than other schemes and not as good value for money.

12:27 - Karen Lumley, Conservative, gets a big 'hear hear' about the GMB union's involvement in legislative amendments. It shouldn't just be a case of "picking up a tired old brief from a trade union", Cameron says. The government is really on the offensive on constitutional issues in this week's PMQs.

12:26 - Former Cabinet minister Hazel Blears wants to know what Cameron thinks about the Speaker's parliamentary placement scheme. This looks a lot like a pre-prepared  question - rarely coming from the opposition benches. "If there's time in my busy diary" he'll meet with them, Cameron says.

12:24 - A question about individual voter registration, which Cameron says was a "demand of the Chartists". Very effective work from the PM there - I'll look that one up on Hansard later and write something about it.

12:23 - Another poppy question, this time from Tracey Crouch, specifically about Fifa. Cameron says he is  "completely baffled and frankly angry by the decision made by Fifa". He continues: "If teams want to be able to put the poppy on their shirt they should be able to at the nationa level. I think this is an appalling decision and I hope they'll reconsider it."

12:22 - Christopher Leslie, Labour backbencher, raises the border issue once again. "Did anyone at the Home Office clear that document?" he says. May looks on, a small smile on her face. "He's trying desperately to make up the ground lost by his party leader but he's rather lost the House in the process," Cameron says contemptuously, after a rather long question. The PM then explains that an inquiry is taking place where "all these issues will be aired".

12:19 - Family breakdown is "dreadful", Cameron says. Is he going to mention early intervention? Oddly, not. Oh well. Instead we're moving on to SDLP MP Mark Durkan, on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process ahead of this Friday's UN vote. Cameron says a two-state solution can only come through the two potential states "sitting down and negotiating".

12:18 - Back in the chamber, and as I was writing that we had tributes paid to the Red Arrow pilots who have died recently. DUP MP Gregory Campbell raises the Fifa poppy ban, prompting this from the PM: "I think it's a remarkable achievement of the Royal British Legion that we've reintroduced the sense of this silence." He doesn't take the opportunity to attack the footballing ban.

12:14 - So, another rousing set of exchanges. Forget being the statesman - the leader of the opposition took the opportunity of today's session to increase the pressure on Theresa May as far as he possibly could. In terms of the politicking, once again the prime minister exceeded expectations by coming up with a couple of very neat lines. He is simply very good at this, coming up with decent lines even on an issue as desperate as this. Miliband struggled, as always, to make the most of this opportunity. But by sticking to his guns, labelling the border checks issue a "fiasco" and claiming that the government was desperate to avoid responsibility, he was able to make May's life even harder. Both sides will feel heartened as they tuck into their lunch within the next hour.

12:12 - Cameron is a master at getting in political jabs from nowhere. He says the UK border force's present numbers are 18,000, the same as they were in 2006 when Ed Miliband was in government. The Labour leader looks completely deflated, but he rounds up with a neat soundbite: "an out of touch prime minister leading a shambolic government". The PM, given the opportunity for a final thought, quotes Lord Glassman who says Labour "lied" over immigration. He finishes: "Where's the apology?"

12:11 - There's a lot of reading out going on here. Cameron is now listing the coalition's immigration achievements, turning away people there, deporting them there. "Finally we've got a Home Office and an immigration minister that actually want to cut immigration!" That prompts hearty Tory cheers. But Miliband simply responds by saying this is a "complete fiasco!"

12:09 - Speaker John Bercow stamps down on groans when he raises the good behaviour of members of the youth parliament. Miliband, returning to the attack, quotes May saying she was "sick and tired of blaming others when things go wrong". Laughter, cackling, from Labour MPs. "Why did the home secretary allow it to happen?" Cameron picks up on the responsibility line. "Having a lecture in responsibility from a party that trebled immigrtion," etc - long list coming now of Labour's failures. Miliband responds by sticking to the attack. "He can't keep saying it's nothing to do with him," he moans. "While he was busy reclaiming our borders, the home secretary was busy relaxing our borders," Miliband says.

12:07 - "It's just not good enough," Miliband says in reply. Already both sets of backbenchers are at full volume as he presses on with the statistics line. So Cameron just reads his list of numbers once again. "The head of the UKBA, Rob Whiteman, who also didn't know this unauthorised action was taking place, said: 'Brodie Clark admitted to me on November 2nd on a number of occasions this year he authorised his staff to go further than ministerial action'." Sticking very closely to the line, in short. "It was a decision backed... by me," he insists.

12:03 - Ah - he's going straight in on Miliband, wanting the figures for the number of people entering the country. "The number of people arrested was actually up by ten per cent," Cameron replies. "But I think we should be clear about what did and did not happen here," he says, reading carefully. May nods slowly as Cameron repeats her explanation from earlier this week. "This is an operational decision which... I think she was fully right to take," the PM adds. This time May's nod is thoroughly grateful.

12:01 - Theresa May takes her seat between William Hague and George Osborne, seconds before PMQs begins. "Questions to the prime minist-ah," Bercow intones, and the session begins. After the customary sad moment when Britain's fallen soldiers are remembered, Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert begins with a question about jobs and growth. "Does he think telling 25 million workers they have no job security and will be hired or fired tomorrow will boost consumer confidence?" A very critical question there, which is referring to the government's proposed employment changes. Cameron rattles on in an attempt to brush it off.

11:57 - Just a few minutes away from starting now, with Scotland questions - always a thriller - wrapping up. Commons chamber is nearly full, and Big Ben is about to bong. We can expect a fairly tough line from David Cameron on Theresa May - it'll be interesting to see whether he budges even an inch in terms of support for his home secretary.

11:45 - A very good morning to you all, just about, as MPs prepare for this week's PMQs. We're about as certain as we can be that Ed Miliband will choose to run with Theresa May's ongoing miseries at some stage. The only question is whether he might choose to divide his six questions into two halves, running with something else (Europe?) in statesman mode initially, before tackling the border control fiasco separately. Will he resist the urge to go for the jugular immediately? It's going to be a fun half-hour, that's for sure.

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