PMQs as-it-happened

Ian Dunt By

11:52 - Hello, we're back after a month long break. The excitement is palpable. Miliband's first clash with Cameron since the elections kick off in about eight minutes.

12:00 - Northern Ireland questions are just winding down. I'm not sure they're ever up, frankly. All the players are in though, Cameron having a last look at his notes and blowing out his cheeks. Osborne chatting amiably. And we're off.

12:03 - A bit of me dies as Cameron wishes the England football team the "very best of British" in the World Cup. PC warrior Katy Clarke wishes "all the football teams well".

12:04 - Brooks Newmark, who sounds like he's been given the name of the shopping mall he was conceived in, celebrates William Hague and Angelina Jolie's sexual violence summit in London. Cameron says he aims to help survivors. Miliband is up.

12:05 - Lot's of ironic cheers. Miliband leads on the Birmingham schools. The key question is if there's a serious problem at their school, where do parents go to get it sorted out? Cameron says he's determined to make sure it's "unacceptable in our country". Gove hands the PM a note. The first person to go to, Cameron says, is the head teacher and the head of the board of governors.

12:07 - Cameron calls for cross party unity, Miliband ain't playing. He says head teachers and head of board of governors were sometimes part of the problem. "Doesn't there need to be one system of accountability for all schools?" Cameron: If people believe there is a real problem, they can go to Ofsted. "That's why it's so important about no-notice inspections."

12:08 - He goes on, arguing against local council accountability What caused the action? When the Department for Education was contacted. Miliband accepts the local council point but Ofsted inspections only happen often every five years or so. That's not enough. "No-one believes the DfE can run thousands of schools from Whitehall. Isn't it time for a proper system of local oversight, separate from councils?" Interesting tactic from Miliband. "I always listen very carefully to his proposals but this sounds like creating a new local bureaucracy," Cameron replies. Genuinely enlightening discussion here.

12:11 - Cameron claims free schools often take quicker action. Miliband counters that he has no answer on accountability. He moves on to passports. That may not be wise. Cameron says it's important to get it right because people are anxious about their holidays. He says the applications surged so they increased staff. Miliband: "Truth is, tens of thousands of people are finding their holidays are cancelled because they're not getting a passport. There are greater responsibilities for the Passport Office and less resources." When did the government become aware of the problem?

12:13 - Cameron loses his temper demanding Labour be quiet while he answer. Tough session for him. Miliband is making him sweat.

12:14 – Again he appeals to Miliband to pull punches: "I hope he will try not to frighten people." Miliband replies that there are tens of thousands waiting. "The truth of the nature of this government is we have the home secretary fighting with the education secretary while not paying attention to the business of government." He asks when the backlog will be cleared.

12:15 - Cameron gets desperate and goes for his typical "not a word about the unemployment figures". A moment ago Gove mouthed to Miliband: "Unworthy. Unworthy of you."

12:16 - Snap verdict: Miliband 3 Cameron 1. That was a clear win for the Labour leader. He succeeded in portraying a government in more chaos than it really was. He found one item in the department of two warring ministers and made a strong case for the idea that they were failing to deal with it because of their own internecine battles. Usually, Miliband misses an open goal. Here the goal still had a keeper in it, but he shot it home anyway. Good, solid performance from the Labour leader.

12:19 - I thought Cameron was particularly unwise to dodge a question on a fish-and-chips issue like passports. There will have been people watching who really were worried about their passport and to see him evade into a party political attack on another subject would have been irritating.

12:25 - Twenty five minutes in and not one mention of events in Iraq. These sessions become more parochial by the day. Mike Freer (Steven Berkoff in disguise) wants the PM to visit his constituency. "I'm sure I'll be visiting before too long" Cameron says. Sounds a bit 'lets go for drinks soon'.

12:30 - Cameron ill-advisedly mentioned speedos earlier. Now Young Labour MP Pamela Nash tells the Commons she'll have "nightmares" imagining him in them. Cameron replies: "Speedos do actually make shorts as well as speedos, if I might clear that picture out of her mind."

12:32 - Tony Baldry makes the excellent point that the crime of apostasy is against the UN charter of human rights and demands Sudan is penalised for using it against a woman pursuing her religious beliefs. "We'll bring the full weight of everything Britain can do to make it clear to the country" that it's unacceptable behaviour.. Michael Kane, Lab, asks if Cameron needs tips on team discipline from Roy Hodgson. Cameron: "We've had the same chancellor for four years, and we've record levels of growth in our country. If you've got a strong team with a strong plan, stick with the team, stick with the plan and keep on putting it in the back of the net." That was actually very good from Cameron, given it was off the hoof, or appeared to be.

12:35 - That last line clears up the case for anyone optimistic enough to think May or Gove were heading for a reshuffle. Cameron doesn't like them and he seems proud of not doing them. It was always unlikely anyway, they're both big beasts, too big to move this close to the election.

12:36 - And we come to a halt there. There's a statement from the PM on the G7 now  But beforehand it's Robert Kenrick, the winner of the Newark by-election, whose being introduced to the House. He takes the religious oath.

12:38 - And on that happy (?) note we'll put the blog to bed. Not bad this week. Relatively insightful and telling in its performances. See you next time.

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