Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 14:27 UK

The Full Story: PM's Questions

The full PM's questions session: From Democracy Live

By Justin Parkinson

1326 The debate over Dr Fox's statement on the Afghanistan mission has concluded. That ends our live text and video coverage for this week. Please join us again next Wednesday for prime minister's questions.

1323 Full co-operation from the Pakistan government is vital to the success of the Afghanistan mission, Dr Fox says.

1319 Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd urges diplomatic efforts to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.

1318 The defence secretary says there has been a "major improvement" of communication among forces in Afghanistan.

1316 The governor of Helmand is brave and "impressive", Dr Fox says, adding that he manages to get out and meet people in the province.

1314 The DUP's Jim Shannon says the withdrawal from Sangin is not a "retreat", but a tactical move by the military. Dr Fox says UK forces have done a "wonderful job" and can move to other areas of Helmand with their "heads held high". It is "contemptible" to describe the move as a "retreat", he adds.

1310 The defence secretary reiterates his point that, across Afghanistan as a whole, there has been much progress on improving security. The media focuses on casualties but must "show the other side of the ledger", he tells MPs.

1307 Tory MP Edward Leigh says the British Army is "bleeding to death" in Afghanistan, questioning the point of the conflict. Dr Fox says: "We did not seek this confrontation... but we will see it through to its conclusion."

1303 Dr Fox says he would describe "success" in Afghanistan as leaving the country "stable enough" to handle its national security.

1302 Lib Dem Bob Russell calls for more unmanned aerial vehicles to be used to indentify insurgents in Afghanistan. Dr Fox it is essential that all Nato countries share the burden of fighting until the mission ends.

1300 Labour's David Winnick says he believes the Afghanistan war is "unwinnable" and questions its role in preventing international terrorism.

1259 Conservative MP, and former soldier, Patrick Mercer, says the UK is engaged in a regional war which stretches from Afghanistan to Russia and that lives are being lost in a "crucial cause".

1257 Current UK forces in Sangin number 1,008, Mr Fox says. There will still be a training role for the military after combat troops are removed, he adds.

1252 Shadow defence secretary Bob Ainsworth asks what forces will be deployed in Sangin in the place of UK troops. He says there are "mixed emotions" over the mission in this part of Afghanistan and that service personnel have shown great bravery. The UK has not "got as far" as might have been hoped ahead of the hand-on of Sangin to US forces, he adds.

1248 Back in the Commons, Dr Fox says it is vital to the UK's security that all parts of Afghanistan are made stable.

e-mail sent in by reader
I think people need to give Cameron a chance, everyone knew he would have to make difficult decisions regarding making cuts etc. And when Labour moan it makes me laugh, because it's down to them that we having to endure savage cuts
Neil, Eastbourne, UK

e-mail sent in by reader
As much as I welcome the move to common sense politics by way of the coalition I regret that it's still not possible for the new Prime Minister to answer the question he was asked. There is still a strong tendency to slag off the previous government's record and avoid answering the question put to the PM. It's very disappointing in this new era of a fresh start. Give it a try David!
Julian, Bromley, kent

Gary O'Donoghue
1243 From BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue: A very subdued PM's questions by normal standards - but that meant there were lots of opportunity for backbenchers to raise constituency issues. David Cameron reiterated his recent statements on Afghanistan - namely that he didn't want to be there in five years' time. It'll be interesting to see if the Speaker's thoughts on reform go anywhere this time around - keeping in mind that Mr Cameron himself once called for an end to punch and judy politics.

1240 UK forces in Sangin, Helmand, have made huge progress, Dr Fox says.

1238 Mr Fox says some additional forces will be deployed temporarily in central Helmand.

1235 There is "good progress" on building up Afghan forces, Dr Fox says.

PMQ analysis with Robinson, Murphy and Shapps

Liam Fox
1234 Defence Secretary Liam Fox is giving a statement on the situation in Afghanistan. The focus is now on delivering on the coalition's aims in the country, he says.

1233 Asked about plans to abolish free swimming in England, Mr Cameron says it is not always possible to deliver such schemes in "straitened times". That ends prime minister's questions for the week.

1232 Mr Cameron says there is a "huge backlog" in social housing and that some of the recently announced £6bn cuts is going to help a funding "black hole" under Labour.

1230 David Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon, asks for an update on the Raoul Moat situation. Mr Cameron says the whole country is thinking of those affected.

1229 Lib Dem Roger Williams asks for policy on agriculture to be taken on a scientific basis. Mr Cameron says it will, but adds that better labelling for consumers is needed.

1227 Tory Robert Buckland asks for an assurance that all academies set up are required to accept children with special needs. Mr Cameron gives this assurance.

1226 Tory James Clappison says the UK Budget should not be vetted by the EU before it is presented to Parliament. Mr Cameron agrees.

1224 Labour's Chuka Umunna urges the government to do more to prevent knife crime and violence among inner-city youths. Mr Cameron says tough punishment is the short-term solution, with wider community efforts needed in the long term.

1222 Labour's Michael McCann pays tribute to an injured serviceman from his constituency adding that UK forces must stay in Afghanistan until "the job is done". Mr Cameron says this is the "key year" of the campaign and says it's time to "maximise the pressure" before bringing forces home.

Gary O'Donoghue
1221 From BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue: Not surprising that Hariet Harman wants to link the cuts in public spending to real concerns over crime. So for the second week, David Cameron came under pressure to say whether police numbers would fall if the Home Office £10 billion budget is cut by anything from 25% upwards. He wouldn't say of course, pointing to the fact that the previous Home Secretary wouldn't give such an assurance either. Pretty lacklustre performance by both today - a few lame jokes, and a small ticking off by the Speaker when PM tried to start talking about New Labour memoirs - can't think we learned very much.

1220 Speaker John Bercow once again tells MPs off, this time urging them not to shout at the prime minister.

1219 Tory James Arbuthnot says local people must be re-engaged in planning decisions. Mr Cameron says the coalition is scrapping targets and bureaucracy imposed by Labour.

1217 Labour's Jim McGovern attacks the coalition's cancellation of tax breaks for the computer games industry. Mr Cameron says the cut in corporation tax for small firms, outlined in the recent Budget, was a better policy.

1216 Mr Cameron argues that his government has been left to "clear up" Labour's "mess" on law and order. Ms Harman has run out of questions and it's time for backbenchers to have their say.

John Bercow
1215 Speaker John Bercow stops the PM from quoting from the memoirs of a "former Labour spin doctor". The PM jokes that he was "only trying to boost sales".

1213 The PM says the government is clearing up the budgetary mess left by Labour. Ms Harman argues that the government's policy on crime is to cut police numbers and attack CCTV. In response, Mr Cameron says violent crime almost doubled under the Labour government.

1211 Ms Harman says Labour went into the election promising to protect police numbers. She asks if this is the case under the coalition. Mr Cameron says there will be "difficult decisions", adding that Labour's former Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, could not confirm police numbers would be maintained.

David Cameron
1209 Mr Cameron is asked by Ms Harman about his mother, a former magistrate, and her belief in the need for short sentences. He answers that he was delighted to be asked about his mother and said the reason she gave out so many sentences was to deal with CND protesters at Greenham Common.

1208 Ms Harman jokes that Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is "not looking too cheerful". The avowed jazz fan should "cheer himself up" by going Ronnie Scott's music club in central London, she adds. Mr Cameron says there are "very few people more cheerful" than Mr Clarke.

Harriet Harman
1206 Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman supports the prime minister's words on the 7 July 2005 bombings. She moves on to the subject of domestic violence. She asks for reassurances that a review will not stop magistrates giving out short sentences for this crime. Mr Cameron says he agrees that penalties must be maintained but it is important to "get this right".

1203 In response to a question about Somaliland, Mr Cameron says the new government there is the result of an election carried out under a system of "genuine democracy".

1202 Prime Minister David Cameron is on his feet. He pays tribute to those killed in the London bombings five years ago, on 7 July 2005.

Nick Robinson
1201 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says John Bercow's call to reform prime minister's questions, with the Speaker giving out "red and yellow cards" to misbehaving MPs, will be difficult to implement.

1200 Ahead of the main event, international development questions are taking place. As cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell discusses poverty in India, MPs are getting a little excitable. Speaker John Bercow tells them to calm down.

1159 It is dreary and damp at Westminster, but MPs' thoughts could be turning towards a summer break. The parliamentary recess starts on 29 July. That makes a maximum of three more prime minister's questions sessions. The good news is that the recess has been shortened, so we can expect more knockabout fun in early September. We used to have to wait until after the party conferences, which go on into early October.

1158 Housing minister Grant Shapps argues that "basic fairness" dictates that all parliamentary seats should have roughly the same number of registered voters.

Gary O'Donoghue
1157 From BBC political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue: And so for another session of "scrutiny by screech" - the description Speaker John Bercow applied to the institution of PMQs. Mr Bercow made his comments in a speech last night, calling for a revamp of the weekly encounter which he says makes the South African vuvuzelas sound like a distant whisper. But ahead of such reform, what will be uppermost in Harriet Harman's mind today? Perhaps those 40% cuts, eased out at the weekend by the coalition government as its first salvo in the spending round; maybe she'll try and point up the obvious divisions between the coalition partners over plans for electoral reform - following Monday's announcement of a referendum date - or perhaps the cutting back of the school refurbishment programme, which didn't necessarily get as much attention as it might have done, announced as it was immediately after Nick Clegg's constitutional statement. No doubt though that the reconfiguration of British troops in Helmand will command the attention of the House at some point - particularly given the heavy casualties 40 Commando and others have been sustaining.

Jim Murphy
1155 Shadow Scottish secretary Jim Murphy tells BBC Two's Daily Politics says the government must be "careful" in redrawing constituency boundaries.

1153 On the government's political reform programme, Andrew Turner, the Tory MP for the Isle of Wight, argues against sub-dividing his constituency - currently the biggest, by population, in the UK.

1151 At the top of the list to ask questions of Mr Cameron this week are Labour's Alun Michael and Jim McGovern and Conservatives Julian Sturdy and James Arbuthnot.

John Bercow
1149 Another thought. Will MPs heed Speaker John Bercow's call, made in a speech last night, for prime minister's questions to become a less "abusive" event. Hmmm...

1147 Will Harriet Harman be able to resist going at David Cameron on that perennial Labour favourite of Tory donor Lord Ashcroft's tax status? He has announced that he will no longer be a "non dom", preferring to keep his Lords seat. But two other Conservative peers have chosen to lose their seat in the Lords, rather than their tax status. There could also be baiting of the government benches over perceived differences on the promise of a vote on electoral reform, one suspects.

1144 On today's agenda? Cuts, cuts, cuts. School buildings, civil service redundancy payments: expect at least a mention of the government's deficit-reducing plans from Labour leader Harriet Harman. Also, the coalition's announcement that it will hold a judge-led inquiry into claims that UK security services were complicit in the torture of terror suspects could come up. David Cameron will probably update MPs on the ongoing search for suspected armed killer Raoul Moat too.

1141 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of prime minster's questions, which will be followed by Defence Secretary Liam Fox's statement on Afghanistan at 1230 BST. BBC correspondent Gary O'Donoghue will provide his expert analysis and, courtesy of BBC Two's Daily Politics, housing minister Grant Shapps and shadow Scottish secretary Jim Murphy will debate the issues of the day.

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