BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 12:43 GMT
Point-by-point: Question time
The main points from prime minister's questions on Wednesday, 6 February, from 1200 GMT:

  • Prime Minister Gordon Brown - in response to a question from Ann Cryer (Labour, Keighley) - assured MPs the inquiry into bugging of MPs would be detailed and would report back quickly. He said surveillance was necessary to defend freedom and preserve security and there were already safeguards in place but he added: "Where there are questions it is right to investigate."

  • Conservative leader David Cameron said the PM had established 52 reviews since coming to power, which he said was "debilitating". "Who is the source of this dithering or does he need more time to find out?," asked Mr Cameron.

  • Mr Brown said Mr Cameron was all soundbites and no substance. He said the public wanted reviews on things like super-casinos and cannabis. He said there were lots of reviews because his government was making the changes needed for the future.

  • Mr Cameron said the public wanted decisions, not reviews and he hit back at Mr Brown's claims the Tories opposed moves to expand education for young people.

  • "I think he has been practising that soundbite all week - and do you know what, it's still rubbish," said Mr Cameron. The Tory leader then challenged Mr Brown to say whether he would scrap A-levels.

  • Mr Brown said a review would report back in 2012 and he challenged Mr Cameron to say whether he supported education for all to the age of 18. He also listed various aspects of Labour's record and insisted they were taking the decisions for the long term.

  • Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg focused on the controversy around the alleged bugging of MPs and wider-related issues, accusing Mr Brown of creating a "surveillance state". He said Britain had become the most "spied-on on the planet".

  • Mr Brown asked if the Lib Dems supported CCTV and other measures.

  • Mr Clegg said Labour had created a surveillance state and called on the government to scrap the "scandalous" increasing practice of schools fingerprinting pupils. He also called for the million-plus innocent people to have their details removed from the DNA database.

  • Mr Brown said his government was taking the decisions to protect the public, and also to protect people's liberties.

  • In response to a question from Bob Russell (Lib Dem Colchester), who has visited British troops in Afghanistan, Mr Brown called for "proper burden sharing" when it came to personnel and equipment from other EU countries.

  • Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, who has advised Mr Brown on defence issues, asked why the 600 extra troops called for by brigade commanders in Afghanistan had not been provided as part of new troop deployments announced earlier to "ensure there are enough bayonets on the ground to hold territory" .

  • Mr Brown repeated the need for "burden sharing" from EU partners.

  • James Gray (Conservative, Wiltshire North) called on Mr Brown to repeat Tony Blair's pledge to give the armed forces everything they needed. Mr Brown said that was already happening.

  • Margaret Moran (Labour, Luton South) asked Mr Brown what he planned to do to get more women into Parliament, on the anniversary of the suffragette movement.

  • Mr Brown said more would be done and he suggested a monument on Parliament Square to the suffragettes.

  • In response to a question from Conservative MP John Barron, Mr Brown said a decision would be announced "very soon" on the release of the John Williams draft of the Iraq weapons dossier.


    Gordon Brown The Full Story
    All the action with key points, analysis and reaction from Gordon Brown's weekly grilling

    June 2008 -

    Has China's housing bubble burst?
    How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
    Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific