PMQs as-it-happened

Ian Dunt By

11:40 - Morning. Here we are again, unless of course you've wisely decided that all this politics business is damaging your karma in the week since we saw you last. In which case: Good luck with your future endeavours. You are evidently of sound mind. If you've returned, there's more karma damage coming up, in what will probably be a battle of the stats. On the one hand, unemployment has fallen by 18,000 between June and August to 2.49 million, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). On the other, the Trussell Trust (the biggest food bank operator in the UK) has reported that the number of people it has distributed food to has tripled over the last year to more than 350,000. Now, what do you think the chances are of Ed Miliband barking the latter fact while David Cameron barks the former? Yes. Very high. The usual caveats apply: There will be typos aplenty and occasional innocent and also cynical inaccuracies. I will probably lose interest half way through and start talking about their hair. Kick off is at 12pm.

11:47 - We're currently undergoing the trauma of Theresa Villiers batting away angry questions on Northern Ireland. Ivan Lewis is having his first despatch box moment as shadow Northern Ireland secretary. It's been something of a perpetual demotion for the man since he was sacked as shadow media secretary a few years ago. They open with the usual consensus noises. Pat of the reason this position is such a graveyard for Lewis is that there is no major difference between the two big parties on Northern Ireland. "I'd like to thank him for his reiteration of the bipartisan approach taken by his predecessor and welcome him to his post," Villiers says, somewhat sticking the knife in. Lewis puts on a moderately stroppy voice and replies: "It's incredibly important she remains engaged in the process at every stage. Can she give that assurance?" She does.

11:52 - Philip Hollobone (Tory, wrong 'un) says the water cannons have been working very well in Northern Ireland. Perhaps we should bring them to the mainland. He seems unaware of the ways in which Northern Ireland is different to the rest of the UK. Villiers, not one to miss a chance to be firm, says the home secretary will be "interested" to hear reports of how effective the water cannons were during the summer's rioting.

11:55 - Cameron has come in and sat down. He's got a pair of glasses on. Has this ever happened before? I had no idea he wore glasses.

11:57 - Well now the excitement of the Cameron glasses moment has died down, I can gather my wits. The House is full, as usual, for PMQs. Stephen Pound, shadow Northern Ireland minister, stands up, burly as usual. He should play the Penguin in the next Batman film. He wants to know what she's doing for small business trying to get credit.

12:02 - And off we go.

12:03 - Cameron kicks off by celebrating England's win last night and jokes that the other home nations will now support the team in the World Cup. "One can but dream," he says. Paul Bloomfield (Labour, reasonable) jokes about his Sheffield club and then asks the PM to back a charter against payday lenders. Cameron commends him on the issue.

12:04 - He lists the current efforts being undertaken. He won't rule out a cap either, but says evidence from other countries raises issues about it. Liam Fox (Tory, so Tory) asks whether the Guardian has damaged national security. It left the "British people more vulnerable". Cameron says: "What's happened has damaged national security and in a way the Guardian admitted that when they destroyed those files."

12:06 - Miliband starts by welcoming the fall in unemployment but asks Cameron to confirm there is a cost of living crisis, given that wages are at their lowest point since records began. "Of course we all want to see living standards improve, but the way to improve living standards is to grow the economy," Cameron says. Miliband: "There are record numbers of people still out of work. That is no cause for complacency. Living standards are falling month after month."

12:08 - Cameron says there's "absolutely no complacency" - there are one million more in work than when the government came into power. He compares that to a quote from Miliband saying the coalition would lose a million jobs. Miliband: "The person who should be apologising is this prime minister for the cost of living crisis." He goes back to the energy firms pushing up prices. "It's make you mind up for the prime minister - whose side are you? Energy companies or the consumer?" Cameron, rather predictably, counters with his second favourite slogan: "We are on the side of hard working people." Sigh. Better than the 'global race' though.

12:10 - Opposing a freeze puts Cameron with the energy firms, Miliband says, rather weakly. Those who support it include Which? and the public. Cameron: "If it was such a great idea why didn't he introduce it when he was energy secretary? It's not an energy price freeze, it's an energy price con. Given his problem is no credible economic policy, he doesn't help himself with having an incredible energy policy."

12:12 - Miliband counters with an attack on Cameron's green record, citing 'vote blue go green' and all that. Cameron supported the 2010 energy bill, Miliband says triumphantly. "You could say two parties working together in the national interest. He's gone from hug a husky to gas a badger." Cameron: "The only embarrassing thing is this tortured performance."

12:13 - "They're a hopeless opposition," Cameron ends. Miliband tries to shout "I'll tell him what happened," but the noise in the Commons overwhelms him. "Food bank use on the rise, energy bills soaring, even if you're in work, you're worse off, and a prime minister totally in denial." Cameron: "They crashed the economy, they bust the banks, they bankrupted this country. On a day there's one million more people in work it's one million reasons to say - 'that's the same old Labour. Never again'."

12:15 - Snap verdict: Cameron: 2 Miliband: 1. Cameron got the better of the Labour leader there, with a more robust, confident, well-paced performance. I'm not sure that badger joke fitted either. Cameron has still not found a good response to Miliband's energy price policy though, and describing it as "incredible" may not have been wise. Miliband is still winning the long game on this, but in terms of despatch box performance, it was Cameron wot won it.

12:19 - Dennis Skinner mentions a constituent who was stripped of his benefit by the much-hated Atos. He waited for an appeal for months, then the cancer took his sight, his hearing and, last Friday, his life. "Isn't it time we put an end to this system that people who are really suffering do not have to wait for an appeal." He demands an ex grata payment to his widow and the abolition of Atos. "Get rid of it" Skinner shouts, red faced. Cameron says he'll look at the specifics of the case. "Everyone knows we have to improve the quality of decision making about this issue." Bercow has to stop him to quieten Labour MPs down.

12:22 - Therese Coffey (Tory, blanket and tea and old socks) mentions how the Supreme Court turned down the appeal for prisoner rights. Will Cameron guarantee MPs won't vote on it in this parliament? Cameron congratulates the attorney general, who fought the case in the Supreme Court. Dominic Grieves looks down at his lap, blushing. He's a good egg.

12:25 - Keith Vaz (Labour, undiluted pomposity) mentions plebgate. "This report goes to the heart of the issue of ethics and integrity of the police." He asks if he agrees with the home secretary that the relevant chief constable apologises and that the officers face disciplinary proceedings. Cameron says he backs Theresa May. The question of what happened is with the CPS. This is about the meeting Mitchell had with officers when the records show their account of the meeting was fictional. "The right honourable gentleman is absolutely right, he is owed an apology, the conduct of these officers was not acceptable."

12:27 - Virenda Sharma (Lab, distinguished) asks of the PM is ashamed that the Red Cross are working for British families now? Cameron says he backs the project to give supermarket food to people who need it. He again shouts that growing the economy is the path to better living standards. Simon Kirby (Tory, HAIRCUT FIFITIES MANIA EXPLOSION) asks about a trauma centre in Brighton. Cameron puts on his glasses to read from a document and again I must mention the fact that he wearing his glasses and that is weird.

12:30 - Stephen Hepburn (Labour, really very angry) shouts about how the Tories are the "political front of the hedge funds and the bankers". Cameron says Labour "allowed the banks to go bust in the first place". Under any analysis, that is grade one rubbish. Glyn Davies (Con, rather more considered) wants pensions to take priority over benefit payments. Villiers is looking at Dave as if she secretly despises him.

12:32 - Just so you can form your own judgement on that Kirby haircut.

12:34 - Robert Halfon (Tory, their great hope) hugs himself closely as he asks the PM to look at the threshold of when the low paid pay national insurance. Cameron says he will do so and harks back to that one million back in work figure. And with that, we're done. Bercow plays excitedly with the inside of his mouth as MPs file out the Chamber. Well that wasn't the worst PMQs of all time. And that is all we can ever hope for. See you next week, unless that karma thing becomes more persuasive.

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