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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Point-by-point: Question time
The main points from prime minister's questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 10 October, from 1200 BST:

  • Conservative MP Robert Neill asked Mr Brown to congratulate his local Tory-controlled authority in Bromley on its recycling record - and taunted Mr Brown by offering to show him its "bottle banks" - a reference to claims Mr Brown had "bottled out of" calling an early election.

  • Mr Brown replied he should be pleased with the public expenditure settlement made on Tuesday which gives more money to the environment.

  • Asked about the postal strike, Mr Brown said: "This has got to be settled by negotiations between the Post Office and the work force... but there is no justification for the continuation of this dispute. It should be brought to an end on the terms that have been offered as soon as possible and I urge the work force to go back to work."

  • Tory leader David Cameron said Mr Brown was suffering a "credibility gulf" over his decision not to call a general election.

  • Mr Brown said he would "take no lectures" from Mr Cameron, saying the Tory leader had changed his mind on policies on parking charges, VAT on air fares, museum charges and grammar schools.

  • Mr Cameron said that if Mr Brown was to be believed he was the first PM in history to "flunk an election because he thought he was going to win it". He also quoted words Mr Brown had written in his book about people of courage.

  • Mr Brown said only 26 people have signed a petition calling for an election on the Downing Street website - "and not one of them are on the Conservative front bench".

  • Mr Cameron asked if the chancellor's policies on inheritance tax and non-domiciles had been in the draft pre-Budget report written before the Conservative Party conference.

  • Mr Brown replied: "I think if he looks back to the summer at interviews given by the chancellor, he talked about these very issues. And I may say, we have raised the exemption on inheritance tax on ten occasions since 1997. We have dealt with tax avoidance in relation to non-domicile and non-resident on many occasions since 1997. And we are going to continue to make the right decisions for the country."

  • He also questioned the Conservatives' figures on non-domiciles, saying the party could only raise 650m, not 3.5bn as they claimed.

  • Mr Cameron urged Mr Brown to "find a bit of bottle, get in your car, go down to Buckingham Palace and call that election".

  • He said he was treating the British public "like fools" in not admitting opinion polls had led to him deciding not to call an autumn election. "Doesn't he realise what a phoney he looks?" Mr Cameron asked.

  • He said Mr Brown's credibility was being damaged by his refusal to call a referendum on the EU reform treaty.

  • Mr Brown said all the "red lines" the government had asked for have been achieved. "we stand up for the British interest, we will continue to do so".

  • Mr Cameron said Mr Brown had "plotted and schemed" for the job for 10 years and was in danger of losing his "moral authority". He asked: "How long will we have to wait before the past makes way for the future?"

  • Mr Brown replied that the Tory leader had pledged an end to the "Punch and Judy" of British politics. He then listed what he called the achievements of the government over the past 10 years.

  • Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said the prime minister had stolen Lib Dem policies in order to help the better off - and asked whether he would use Lib Dem policies aimed at helping lower and middle income families by cutting the basic rate of income tax to 16p in the pound.

  • Mr Brown said the Lib Dem suggestion would put economic stability at risk but the government had cut income tax.

  • Mr Campbell asked how projected rises in the council tax could be fair for lower and middle income families.

  • Mr Brown said the Lib Dems had a "black hole" in their finances and "would be better going back to the drawing board".

  • Tory MP Nick Gibb asked about district general hospitals in Chichester and Worthing and asked Mr Brown to assure his constituents that both hospitals were "safe".

  • Mr Brown said he would discuss the local situation with Mr Gibb, but added he should applaud Tuesday's financial settlement and said the Conservatives had got some of their previous statements wrong about district hospitals being under threat.

  • Tory MP Sir Patrick McCormack asked the PM if imitation was the "sincerest form of flattery" - a reference to claims the government had taken Tory and Lib Dem policies.

  • Mr Brown replied that on Bank of England independence, the minimum wage and NHS investment - the Tories had opposed those policies then later supported them. "I know who's leading the arguments in this country and it is the Labour Party," he said.

  • Tory frontbencher Damian Green asked about Burma and why the PM was trying to deport dissidents back to that "dreadful regime".

  • Mr Brown said he would look "sympathetically" at any cases brought to him but said there was an appeals system. He asked for cross-party support on dealing with the Burmese regime and telling them "that what they are doing is completely unacceptable".

  • Former home secretary David Blunkett asked about an "unhelpful" statement by the Association of British Insurers that the money provided by government on flood defences was insufficient and they may not be able to offer full cover.

  • Mr Brown said he hoped the Association of British Insurers would not deny people insurance. He said the government had raised flood defences funding to 800m in 2011 from 600m this year. "We are doing everything we can to improve flood defences in this country", he said.

  • Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone asked about differences between pupil funding in different areas.

  • Mr Brown said "expenditure per pupil in every part of the country is rising" and had risen from 2,500 per pupil in 1997 to 5,500 per pupil now.

  • Labour MP Tom Clarke asked what steps had been taken to support a UN Security Council resolution and a peace agreement on Sudan.

  • Mr Brown replied that the UN resolution was now being complemented by African Union forces - he said there was a sense that all parties in Darfur may be prepared to bring an end to hostilities.


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