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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 13:01 GMT
Point-by-point: Question time
All the main points from prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday 14 December from 1200 GMT.

  • Prime Minister Tony Blair said anti-social behaviour legislation had made a difference to communities and said it was "sad" the Conservatives dismissed it as a "gimmick".

  • Conservative leader David Cameron was interrupted by shouting as he said the Lib Dems were concentrating on their "decapitation strategy", a reference to the speculation about Charles Kennedy's future as leader.

  • Mr Cameron's question focused on the government's education white paper, and some Labour backbenchers' alternative proposals being published on Wednesday.

  • Mr Cameron said "Reports suggest that this will call for a delay in the introduction of Trust schools - will the Prime Minister specifically rule this out."

  • Mr Blair replied: "Yes, Mr Speaker, I will."

  • Mr Cameron: "Excellent, excellent - this is only my second outing, I was told, Mr Speaker, I would never get a straight answer from the Prime Minister, and on my second outing I have done so ... (cheering) ... we're already working very well together (more cheering)."

  • Mr Cameron again promised to help Mr Blair get the plans through Parliament. He said the prime minister faced a choice between his education White Paper and "the white flag".

  • "He has spent hours practising that one, I think," said Mr Blair, who acknowledged having differences with some of his backbenchers on the schools plans.

  • Mr Blair said that there were also big differences with the Conservatives, saying Mr Cameron was in favour of a return to selection by ability in schools, quoting a BBC Today programme interview.

  • Following up his question from last week, Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy called for a probe into alleged UK collusion in the US policy of "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects, saying other European countries had carried out such an investigation.
  • Mr Blair said both the UK and US were "completely opposed" to the use of torture.
  • He said the Liberal Democrats were "quite extraordinary sometimes". He said the idea that the government should launch an investigation every time a US government plane landed in the country was "completely absurd".

  • Mr Cameron focused on free trade and the developing world in his second set of questions.

  • Mr Blair agreed with him that the developed world should reduce trade tariff barriers to help Third World development.

  • He said it would be a "disaster" both for developing countries and nations like the UK if a new world trade deal was not struck at talks in Hong Kong.

  • He was responding to Mr Cameron's call for rich nations to show "real moral leadership" in the negotiations.

  • Asked about fake photographs of alleged prisoner abuse in Iraq published in Daily Mirror, Mr Blair said he understood the anger in certain quarters that no prosecutions had been brought but he could not interfere in the judicial process.
  • Asked if he would give backbenchers an early Christmas present of a free vote on smoking, Mr Blair said he would continue to listen to the debate but the government's proposals included a ban in most public places
  • Answering a question from Lib Dem treasury spokesman Vincent Cable, Mr Blair said there was a difference between the US and UK on the death penalty but rejected comparisons between the US and countries with poor human rights records such as China
  • Mr Blair said he strongly disagreed with the death penalty

  • Conservative MP Sir Peter Tapsell asked when Mr Blair was going to Washington to collect his medal for helping to persuade the American public to support the invasion of Iraq, which he had been awarded two years ago.

  • Mr Blair said he had "one or two other things to do at the moment" but he did not "in any shape or form regret the action we took" or the UK's alliance with America and the upcoming elections in Iraq showed it had been the right thing to do

  • Mr Blair said elections for the Palestinian authority, elections in Israel and the "disengagement" from Gaza and the West Bank showed "significant" progress was being made in the Middle East peace process

  • Answering a question from Lib Dem Paul Rowen. Mr Blair said a public inquiry into the 7 July bombings would be an unnecessary drain on police and security service resources and he "hoped people would be satisfied" with the government's promised efforts to pull together all of the information from the five select committee inquiries into the attacks, particularly, as people already know what happened on 7 July.

  • Mr Blair said: "I do accept that people want to know exactly what happened: we will make sure they do."


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