PMQs as-it-happened

Ian Dunt By

11:50 - And we're back with our two usual delinquents, David 'selfie' Cameron and Ed Miliband. Chances are today's session will centre on free schools. According to the Public Accounts Committee, they cost twice as much to build as the government first estimated and are failing to deal with the shortage in classroom places. The report is so disconcerting to the government that education minister Elizabeth Truss has hit out at chair Margaret Hodge, something of a remarkable event in and of itself. The committee is usually respected as a neutral and important part of the Westminster process. Labour has a new policy on free schools it wants to try out - for it, against building them just for middle classes and using untrained teachers. Miliband will probably focus on it. The usual caveats: Apologies in advance for typos, inaccuracies and any offence caused. Kick off is in ten minutes.

12:00 - Cabinet Office questions are currently winding down. Francis Maude is doing an approximation of competency. And we're off.

12:01 - Stella 'payday' Creasy says there's been a 42% increase in long term unemployment among young women under his watch. She bafflingly links this to Page 3 saying jokingly it provides 'jobs for the girls'

12:02 - David Burrows, Tory, like one of the evil giants in BFG, asks about knife crime. What else can be done? What else indeed. Cameron praises himself toughening up the law and wants to "get rid of this dreadful culture and educating young people". How very compelling. Miliband's up.

12:03 - Interesting, Miliband doesn't go for free schools, opts for the MP pay rise. They both agree, but Miliband will be trying to force him into ruling it out now. Downing Street has been a bit indecisive on this - hoping it will go away until after the election.

12:04 - "We should not let this hang around as an issue until after the general election," Miliband says. Cameron: "My door is always open to the rt hon gentleman." Cameron stresses this is not the final recommendation. He wants Clegg and them two to unite and give Ipsa a message. Miliband says "waiting and seeing won't work". He then goes off onto cost of living. That's a mistake. He should have gone for the jugular. It wouldn't have been fair but it would have been good politics. Miliband being too reasonable. Cameron makes headway saying he cut ministerial pay. He wants to get on to the economy – "after last week's exchange I can't wait. we discovered a new duo - red Ed and redder Ed."

12:07 - Standard economic attacks. "In case he's forgotten he's been prime minister for three and a half years," Miliband says, a bit desperately. He says last Thursday Osborne said living standards were rising. But the OBR says average earnings, wages, salaries, are falling. It's inconceivable to suggest otherwise, they said. But that's what Osborne said. Cameron jokes that Miliband is being heckled by his own side. Cameron evades - reeling off Gordon Brown style stats about employment.

12:09 - "Utterly complacent and out of touch with the country" Miliband says. He goes on that Cameron plans to cut the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p. "Why is he even contemplating a further tax cut for millionaires?" Cameron reminds Miliband it's higher than under Labour (er - because Labour upped it towards the end). He reels off facts again. Very dispiriting performance. Miliband is more convincing and substantial here, but not very much so.

12:10 - Under Labour real earnings went up, Miliband says. Under the Tories, down. "He stands up for the wrong people." Cameron gets up: "Oh deary me. After six questions we're back to denial." This is cut and paste PMQs. It could have been delivered at any point in the last three years.

12:12 - Snap verdict : I need to either sleep or self harm. Proper snap verdict: Miliband: 1 Cameron: 1. I'm being generous. Neither deserve a single point really. Miliband should have been merciless on MPs' pay, but he doesn't have that killer instinct. He is now failing to make inroads on cost of living which should trouble him greatly. Cameron is utterly evasive and misleading. Any sense that PMQs offers scrutiny of the executive is obviously beyond a joke. Really dispiriting stuff.

12:16 - Michael Meacher, Labour, human cobweb, highlights pay disparity. "Is there no end to the brutality and nastiness of Tory Britain?" he shouts. Cameron says he's got " a lot of brass neck".

12:18 - Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative, gets big support from Tory benches. She seems awful. Unsurprising she's so popular. She wants a proper celebration of a man who died who once served in bomber command. Tom Harris is next, allowing one MP to shout: "Bomber Harris".

12:21 - Harris is very funny, saying Cameron saved his marriage by offering the tax break. So why is the divorce rate going down? Cameron jokes that Miliband only tied the knot when he started talking about the tax break. Miliband smiles warmly. "The tax system works in mysterious ways," Cameron says. Rare moment of bon homie between the two leaders.

12:22 - Mark Durkan, SDLP, epic ears,asks something about jobs and Northern Ireland. The ears, man. The ears.

12:24 – He's really got to get a grip on those ears. Jeremy Lefroy, Tory, stern, last knew joy in 1973, wants more young people to do youth service - an initiative the Tories made a lot of noise about pre-2010. Cameron congratulates him for asking the almost certainly planted question. Fiona O'Donnell asks if maternity pay is in the benefits cap. Good question. Only the state pension is outside, evidently. Difficult moment for Cameron. Sir Tony Baldry, looks just like his name would suggest, asks a planted question about youth unemployment.

12:26 - Another question on universal credit. Cameron says IDS has "done more than anyone else in British politics" to change the welfare debate. He really went out to bat for IDS there. Those rumours of a sacking appear wrong. They usually are with Cameron. He sticks with them,

12:29 - The PM savagely attacks Ed Balls, mocking his performance last week and saying his career is "going down". He adds: "He can dish it out but he can't take it". Balls having a tough time but once again, it's hard to avoid the truth: He winds up Cameron like no-one else.

12:30 - Meg Munn, Labour, highlights estimates of deaths in Syria at 120,000. We need greater action she says. Good question. Cameron says he absolutely agrees with her. He gives a thoughtful answer and then says he wants to work with those who want a free liberal future. James Duddridge, Tory, bumbling, asks a planted question about how wonderful everything is.

12:33 - Steve Rotheram, the fifth Beatle, asks something impertinent about the Liverpool mayor being granted publicity like Boris. Cameron gets asked about that selfie at the Mandela event. "Mandela spent so much of life bringing people together so when member of Kinnock family asked me for picture thought it only polite to say yes".

12:35 - And on that jolly note, the session ends. How are you feeling? Empty? Spiritually bereft? Emotionally dead? If not, please see a doctor immediately. See you next week.

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