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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 13:58 GMT
At-a-glance: Wednesday at Westminster
Houses of Parliament


The main points from Gordon Brown's weekly prime minister's questions from 1200 GMT:

  • In response to a question from Labour MP Shona Mclsaac about mental health support for British servicemen and women, the prime minister said there would be a new community-based mental health service.

  • Conservative leader David Cameron questioned the prime minister on Labour's record on party funding. He said Mr Brown had a duty to report matters to the police if he believed "something unlawful" had taken place over donations by property developer David Abrahams.

  • In rowdy exchanges, Mr Cameron also accused Mr Brown of "wriggling" over the issue and said his explanation of events "beggars belief". He said people were saying that after "disaster after disaster" during his 155 days in the job people were asking "if he was not cut out for the job".

  • Mr Cameron said: "You told us you would deliver honest government, that you would be open, end spin and restore trust, and that you would deliver competence. After the events of the last few days can you honestly stand there and say that all over again?"

  • Mr Brown responded by saying: "That is why I acted immediately to set up two inquiries. All of us, on all sides of this house, have an interest in integrity in the funding of political parties." He added: "I am determined to make sure that political party finances are above board."

  • The prime minister told the Commons that the government would co-operate with any police inquiry into the donations. He added that the party would take "whatever action is necessary to sort this out".

  • Mr Brown denied Labour Party fundraiser Jon Mendelsohn had any involvement in the donations made by Mr Abrahams and went on to pledge to "clean-up" party funding.

  • Liberal Democrat acting leader Vince Cable accused the prime minister of having turned from "Stalin to Mr Bean" in a matter of weeks and of not being interested in the armed forces which, he said, were suffering from inadequate equipment, medical care and accommodation.

  • Mr Cable said: "Isn't the underlying truth that where the armed forces are concerned, fundamentally you are not interested and don't care."

  • But Mr Brown defended the government's record on investing in the armed forces, telling the Commons it had invested an additional 6.6 billion above the announced defence budgets and would continue to do "everything in our power to help our armed forces through their duties".

  • In response to a question from Labour MP Adrian Bailey about investment in education, the prime minister assured him that money already earmarked for schools would not be diverted to academies.

  • Sir Michael Spicer, Conservative MP, demanded to know from where the Bank of England had found the money to bail out Northern Rock.

  • The prime minister responded by saying the Bank could make funds available if the Treasury asked, and that he believed the "weight of opinion" in the UK was behind the decision to save the company.

  • Asked by Labour MP Eric Illsley about whether the government would condemn supermarkets for selling cheap alcohol, Mr Brown said a paper suggesting changes in the drinks industry would be published soon.

  • Responding to a question from Labour MP Natascha Engel about measures for young people who drop out of education, the prime minister said the government was already taking action by expanding apprenticeships.

  • Conservative MP Sir Peter Tapsell asked Mr Brown, in the light of recent difficulties, whether he would be handing over the role of prime minister to his deputy.

  • Mr Brown responded by saying he believed it was an important job and would continue to do it "to the best of my ability".

  • The prime minister congratulated a man from Staffordshire who won a gold medal in the Skills Olympics. Jonathan Bourne who works in the county, was praised in the Commons by the Labour MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, Charlotte Atkins.

  • Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster asked the prime minister whether his government took tourism seriously in the light of recent cuts.

  • The prime minister said the numbers of visitors to the UK, despite terrorism and foot-and-mouth, reflected the government's investment.

  • Responding to a question from Labour MP David Chaytor, Mr Brown said he had congratulated the new Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, and thanked the outgoing prime minister, John Howard. He added that he looked forward to working with Mr Rudd on green issues.

  • Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George asked the prime minister what he was going to do about the problem of capital gains tax cuts driving first-time buyers out of the housing market.

  • Mr Brown said the answer was to build more homes, adding that there would be an extra three million nationwide by 2020.


    Commons: From 11.30am Scottish questions, before at noon, Prime Minister's Questions. There will then be a statement on the Middle East by Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Then there will be Conservative-called debates on the prisons "crisis" and the performance of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Department. The adjournment debate is Jeremy Corbyn, on the subject of Bangladesh.

    Westminster Hall: From 9.30am: Backbench debates on; Funding of further education in South Yorkshire, opened by Eric Illsley; Welfare reform, opened by Karen Buck; Economic partnership agreements and development, opened by Tony Baldry; Operation of Heathrow Airport, opened by Mark Field; HIV/Aids, opened by Gavin Strang.

    Lords: From 3pm: Questions to ministers, including on how expanding Heathrow airport will impact on UK targets for the reduction of carbon emissions. Then Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill. Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (Procedure)(Amendment) Rules. Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Procedure)(Amendment) Rules. Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. Crime and Disorder Act (Additional Authorities) Order. Junior Home Office minister Lord West of Spithead. Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act (Duty to Share Information and Disclosure of Information for Security Purposes) Order. Lord West of Spithead.


    On Wednesday morning Mr Brown's official spokesman declined to comment on the Labour donations row, saying it was a party, rather than government matter. Asked if the police had been in touch with anyone at Downing Street he said not as far as he was aware. He also issued a statement from Mr Brown welcoming the decision of Pakistan's president to step down as head of the army.


    Jenny Scott and Andrew Neil
    Andrew Neil, Jenny Scott and the team with full coverage of the on-going Labour donations row and Mr Brown's clash with David Cameron at prime minister's questions.


    Reports include clashes as the Conservatives stepped up their pressure on Labour over its links with a businessman who made secret donations of 600,000 to the party. On Iraq the government rejected a fresh call to withdraw all British troops from Iraq. And the government also defended plans to extend home information packs to cover all properties by December 14 despite warnings from the industry that the market could "grind to a halt". There was also a warning that Britain's honey bee population could be "wiped out" within 10 years if nothing was done to combat diseases such as varroa mite, the Environment Minister, Lord Rooker, told peers.


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