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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Point-by-point: Question Time
All the main points from prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on 19 April, from 1200 BST.

  • Prime Minister Tony Blair opened the session with a welcome back to Commons Speaker Michael Martin, who has been absent from the chamber following a heart problem.

  • Mr Blair also paid tribute to Lt Richard Palmer who was killed in Iraq at the weekend. He said: "We own him and others who have lost their lives a tremendous debt of gratitude."

  • Turning to the environment, Mr Blair argued that the climate change levy was of "vital importance".

  • Conservative leader David Cameron also welcomed Mr Martin back and paid tribute to Lt Palmer. He then pressed Mr Blair about increases to GP salaries and the current NHS financial difficulties.

  • Mr Blair said the proportion of money going on pay in the health service had not risen over recent years, but had fallen. He highlighted the falls in waiting times for patients in Mr Cameron's constituency since 1997 and the increased numbers of doctors and nurses.

  • Mr Cameron said he would take the prime minister to his constituency to visit Moorview Hospital for the mentally ill which is earmarked for closure. He said Mr Blair would have more luck looking for Lord Lucan riding on Shergar than finding an NHS dentist. He said jobs were being lost because of government mismanagement and a leadership failure.

  • Mr Blair replied: "What ridiculous nonsense." He outlined the government's record of achievement, adding: "The Labour Party believes in building up the NHS, the Tory party believes in undermining it."

  • Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell added his welcome to Speaker Martin and his party's sympathy for the family and friends of Lt Palmer. He then asked if Mr Blair agreed with the foreign secretary who claimed that military action against Iran was inconceivable.

  • Mr Blair replied: "Nobody is talking about a military invasion against Iran or military action against Iran. We are taking diplomatic action through the UN security council."

  • Labour's Chris Bryant said it must worry every sensible person that Hamas did not condemn the recent suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

  • Mr Blair said he hoped Hamas realised that those who did this were "wicked and irresponsible" and were doing absolutely nothing to further peace in the Middle East. He said the only way to achieve the two state solution in the region was via peaceful negotiation.

  • Conservative MP Nigel Evans said Mr Blair should return the 2m loaned to the party by government minister Lord Sainsbury, in the wake of the alleged loans for peerages scandal. Mr Evans also asked whether Mr Blair had declared the loan to the Cabinet Secretary.

  • Mr Blair said Lord Sainsbury did a superb job as a minister and he was proud to have him in the government.

  • Mr Cameron asked the prime minister to work with the Tory leaders of councils around the Ryton Peugeot car plant which has announced its closure, to provide training for those who have lost their jobs. Mr Cameron said that Britain was a less competitive place to do business as a result of government tax and pensions changes.

  • Mr Blair said there were procedures in place to deal with the job losses and added that overall the car manufacturing industry was strong and earned about 10bn a year for this country. He said Britain's economy was performing well.

  • Labour's Mark Todd asked if there were adequate ways of recognising the roles of servicemen who gave up their lives for their country.

  • Mr Blair said the UK owed a debt of gratitude to these "very gallant" people who paid the ultimate price with their lives.

  • Labour's Kate Hoey asked Mr Blair if he would consider looking at the funding arrangements for adult education.

  • Mr Blair said the government would look very carefully at this, but he added that there would always be a balance between the money put into this and the workforce.

  • Mr Blair defended the city academy programme saying children who were ignored for years under the Conservatives, were now doing well in education.

  • Tory Michael Jack asked the prime minister to explain why western diplomatic efforts to deal with Zimbabwe seemed to be impotent to the "unfolding tragedy" in that country.

  • Mr Blair described what the regime in Zimbabwe was doing as a "disgrace". He said people there were suffering in a country that was "potentially wealthy". He said the UK was doing its "very best" to put the right diplomatic pressure on the Zimbabwe regime to change. He said the regime cast a shadow over that whole part of Africa.

  • Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd, referring to the "cash for peerages claims" asked the prime minister why his chief fundraiser, Lord Levy, had asked a potential donor to give the money as a loan rather than a donation.

  • Mr Blair said he was not prepared to give a running commentary on the issue, adding: "I'm delighted that so many successful people support the Labour Party."




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