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Prime Minister's Questions

1241 That concludes our live coverage of prime minister's questions for this week. Housing benefit was the dominant subject, with the ramifications of the Spending Review set to go on and on. Please join us again next Wednesday.

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1238 Helen Adelaide Lambert from Bedworth writes: David Cameron is making me very angry. The growth rate was down by one-third from last quarter. How is that a good result?

1236 BBC political editor Nick Robinson says David Cameron cannot move in a pro- or anti-European direction because of the coalition agreement with the Lib Dems, which stipulates there will be no major change during the lifetime of this government.

1235 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: There wasn't much we didn't expect there, and there wasn't much by way of new information, but it's clear housing benefit changes will stick at the top of the political agenda.

1234 Lib Dem Bob Russell says the cuts to housing benefit are "not a laughing matter", arguing that thousands of children could be made homeless, and urges the PM to "look again". Mr Cameron says a cap of £20,000 a year allows people to rent houses that many working families "could not dream of living in".

1232 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: A question from the Conservative Alun Cairns is all but drowned out. It appears it's his striking stripy shirt not his point that's caused the excitement.

1231 Asked about cuts to child benefit, the PM says Labour has chosen "not to make any choices" on reducing the deficit.

1231 The PM says four-fifths of economic growth is coming from the private sector and that this should be celebrated.

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1230 @apptme2theboard tweets: Are David Cameron's benefits to pay for accommodation at No 10 and Chequers also being slashed to £400 a week? Read @apptme2theboard's tweets

1229 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: There's question after question on the economy or public spending, but the PM has a catch-all answer - Labour left the country in the mess and doesn't have a plan of its own.

1228 Businesses around the world think the UK is a great country to invest in, Mr Cameron tells MPs.

1227 Labour MP Tom Harris asks when the PM decided not to follow Labour's spending plans. Mr Cameron says the opposition is "thoroughly dishonest" on the economy.

1225 Labour's Emma Reynolds asks whether the refurbishment of schools in Wolverhampton will go ahead, despite spending cuts. Mr Cameron says the previous government did not make any plans for how it would reduce public spending.

1223 Labour's Luciana Berger asks whether planned tax relief for video games firms was dropped. Mr Cameron says it was one of many hard decisions taken by the coalition since it came to power.

1222 Mr Cameron says ending the Child Trust Fund was a difficult decision but one that had to be made as part of efforts to tackle the budget deficit.

1221 Lib Dem Julian Huppert asks whether the government will roll back state intrusion. Mr Cameron says it will, citing the ending of the ID cards scheme as an example.


1220 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: David Cameron knows many of his backbenchers - veterans of the Commons and newcomers alike - are very concerned about the EU's budget. He's making it very clear he agrees, promising to fight to get that budget under control. It goes down well with his MPs. His pro-European deputy prime minister remains quiet.

1219 Mr Cameron tells Labour's Kate Hoey that her colleagues in the European Parliament keep voting for higher EU budgets, and urges them not to do so.


1217 Tory Andrew Turner asks whether the EU will need a new treaty to provide money for bailing out Greece. Mr Cameron says the UK is not in the euro so any change would not apply here. He adds that it is important to get the EU budget under control.

1216 Labour MP and former Home Secretary David Blunkett asks whether Yorkshire should have its one "White Rose Parliaments". Mr Cameron says Mr Blunkett was part of an "over-centralising" government himself and queries why he is asking such a question.


1215 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: The exchanges between the leaders centred on one policy and one gag : housing benefit, and Ed Miliband's PMQs advice. These will not be the final words on either topic.

1212The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: Little surprise that the leaked Labour advice to the Times has featured heavily. Ed Miliband has a plan for PMQs but no plan for the economy, says David Cameron.

1210 Mr Miliband asks how many people will lose their homes as a result of the housing benefit change. Commons Speaker John Bercow steps in to quieten MPs, who are getting quite lively. Ed Miliband says Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes looks glum about the changes to housing benefit and urges the PM to think again about the policy.

1207 On to housing benefit, Mr Cameron tells Labour MPs the government is sticking to its plans. Mr Miliband argues that the PM has "dug himself in" to cuts, regardless of people's circumstances.

1206 David Cameron says Labour has made no suggestions on deficit-reduction. Ed Miliband responds that the government is not doing enough to get the long-term unemployed back into work.

1205 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: Some Conservative MPs are concerned about the housing benefit changes, as well as Liberal Democrats. David Cameron like his spokesman before him this morning confirms the government will push through its plans as announced.

1203 David Cameron is on his feet. He is asked about yesterday's better-than-expected economic growth figures. He says growth is "strong" and the news is welcome.

1201 BBC political editor Nick Robinson tells BBC Two's Daily Politics that housing benefit is likely to come up. Ed Miliband will be tempted to "surf the wave of discontent" among Lib Dem MPs, he adds.


1158 Just a couple of minutes to go. The atmosphere in the Commons is building up. David Cameron is in his seat.


1155 The BBC's Ross Hawkins says: Ed Miliband's preperations for these PMQs aren't quite as secret as usual. The Times has had a leak. He's been advised to used "mocking humour", and warned David Cameron can be "patronising". Let's see if both sides make anything of that now rather public advice.

1149 Before the main event, Scotland Office questions are taking place in the Commons. The House is about two-thirds full.


1147 So, what's likely to come up today? It's the first prime minister's questions session since last week's Spending Review, so talk of the speed of deficit-reduction is probably on the agenda. The cuts to housing benefit have been mentioned several times by leading Labour figures over the past few days, so Ed Miliband might ask some questions on the subject.


1144 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of prime minister's questions. Ed Miliband will face David Cameron over the despatch box for the third time since becoming Labour leader. BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins will be providing up-to-the-minute analysis and Transport Secretary Philip Hammond and shadow communities secretary Caroline Flint will give the Westminster insiders' view, courtesy of BBC Two's Daily Politics.


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PMQ analysis: 27 October



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