David Cameron: Gordon Brown should admit he's made a mistake
AS IT HAPPENED: BY BRIAN WHEELER
1335 That wraps up our coverage of prime minister's questions for another week. The session was, as expected, dominated by the resignation of Sir James Crosby from the FSA, whose role as an adviser to Gordon Brown provided top quality ammunition for Tory leader David Cameron, prompting Mr Brown to announce that he was no longer an adviser. Thanks, as ever, for your hundreds of e-mails - it's just a shame we don't have space to print all of them.
1314 "What Dean from Cardiff fails to realise is that although this is a World Wide problem, the essence is whether HM Goverenment after all their bluster were sufficiently prepared for it, evidence would suggest that they weren't and Gordon Brown Must take the blame, he was the Chancellor for long enough, and in his words foresaw this coming!" Ian Salisbury, Romford
1310 "Does anyone think the 'do nothing' jibe is effective in any way? It's typical Brown, doggedly pursuing something that's long ceased to have any effect, simply because he refuses to admit it's not working." Matthew, Cheshunt
1300 "I feel Cameron makes a mistake by asking his 6 questions straight off. Brown riles him and the more stressed Cameron gets the less focussed the questions are allowing Brown the final say. Why doesn't he ask 3 or 4 questions, see if Clegg or a backbencher lands a blow and then come back with say 5 minutes left for a final salvo?"Andrew, Derby
1256 Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable says Sir James Crosby "should never have been given" his job at the FSA. But he points the ultimate finger of blame at the Tory government in the 1980s who allowed building societies to demutualise. The newly-created banks expanded too quickly and recklessly and not one of them has survived, Mr Cable tells Sky News.
1255 Tory MP Michael Fallon, the deputy head of the Commons Treasury committee, tells the BBC News channel it is time to get back to "boring" banking.
1254 "Only Gordon Brown could boast about 20,000 more prisoners now than when Labour came to power - does it not even occur to him that we should by now have fewer policeman and fewer prisoners given his long forgotten waffle about being tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime - the only people being punished by labour and their crackpot policies are hardworking honest citizens." Andrew, Beckenham
1251 "Wouldn't a good idea be for the government to give a tax rebate to every taxpayer, like they did in the states? And instead of propping up the banks, use the money to help people with mortgage problems here. The money will then be fed back to the banks anyway, so everyone wins." Fran, London
1249 "I love how David Cameron tries to pin the entire financial crisis on the government. Does he not look outside of Britain? Does he not realise this is a world wide issue rather than something caused on our little island... I think the blinkers need to be taken off." Dean Lewis, Cardiff
1248 "Nobody knows Titian's exact date of birth so nobody knows how old he actually was when he died!" John, London
1246 The Conservatives are determined to have the final say on the Titian debate. They have just phoned the BBC to say they did extensive research into the issue and the painter definitely did die at the age of 86. So there.
1243 David Cameron has finally found a way of linking the financial crisis to Gordon Brown, says Nick Robinson. Mr Cameron worries that some members of the public do not yet blame Mr Brown for what has happened to the economy so the Crosby story is a gift from above.
1242 "Bit of a mistake allowing Crosby to announce his resignation so close to PMQs - not too kind on the PM. More interesting will be how long the Treasury Select Committee will take to summon Crosby to explain his actions. Very poor handling by all concerned." Doug Thomson, Glasgow
1239 But on to the bigger question - how old was Titian when he died? The PM says 90 and Mr Cameron says 86, but that well known font of wisdom Wikipedia says it was 91... according to a Daily Politics viewer.
1238 So that's it - Mr Brown used the session to "cut the legs from under" two of his advisers, Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil reckons. That's Sir James Crosby - and Glen Moreno, who was recently appointed to protect taxpayers' money. Mr Brown stressed that Mr Moreno had not been confirmed in his post when asked a question by Tory MP Angela Wilkinson.
1237From BBC political correspondent David Thompson: When David Cameron and Gordon Brown focus on the economy at PMQs, as is usually the case these days, Nick Clegg's big job is to portray the Lib Dems as an alternative voice. Hence his attack that the Conservatives are a 'do nothing' party, usually a Labour jibe, while claiming Gordon Brown is a 'say anything, do nothing Prime Minister.'
1236 "Good viewing but every one just blows hot air most of the time" Jim, Scotland
1234 The session comes to an end as Mr Brown says he will look at proposals to reform lobbying at Westminster after a question from Labour MP Gordon Prentice, a member of the public administration committee who has been pushing for it to be cleaned-up.
1233 "Perhaps it is the case that doing nothing is the best course of action. Brown's insistence on interfering with anything and everything is rapidly becoming part of the problem rather than the solution it is touted to be." Bill, Warrington
1230 "The MPs are so rude nowadays, they always just talk over those that are asking questions and the speaker just allows it to happen. I think the speaker needs to start doing his job properly." Karl, Lincoln
1229 Bovine TB now. Mr Brown says he is "happy to look at any proposals" Tory MP Gary Streeter has to help dairy farmers but the government already had policies in place prompting a cry of "hopeless" from the Tory benches.
1228 "That is the first time Nick Clegg has impressed me during PMQs, well done!" John, Ware
1227 Stockton MP Dari Taylor asks a very long question about bio-fuels, which earns her a ticking off from the Speaker. Mr Brown gives a stock answer about the importance of a low carbon economy.
1226 Mr Brown praises the "bravery and fortitude" of Britain's armed services.
1225 "Should someone be looking at KPMG and the roles and competencies of auditors, now that Sir James has resigned and to quote Gordon Brown, 'KPMG cleared the Bank'" nick, rushden, uk
1223 A bit of Boris Johnson-bashing from the PM - with Mr Brown accusing the London mayor and the Tory party over cuts to services. A wry smile and a shake of the head from David Cameron sitting opposite.
1223 Lib Dem David Heath brings up the mortgage deferral scheme promised by the government and other pledges which he says have not been delivered. Mr Brown insists the action has been taken and promises more in the banking bill currently passion through Parliament.
1222 "Gordon Brown just doesn't do it for me as a leader of the country...PMQ's has become very boring. Once again he dodges the question and we only had to wait a few minutes until the 'do nothing' phrase was used...regarding James Crosby, if this has already been investigated independently then why has he resigned?" Darren, Tring
1220From BBC political correspondent David Thompson: Forget the facts and figures, both Gordon Brown and David Cameron know that what really matters is who the public trusts. That's why both hammer away on the subject of judgement. For David Cameron, the allegations against Sir James Crosby, who has been an adviser to the government, are a useful stick to beat the prime minister with. Gordon Brown's retort is that, if he has failed to put the brakes on the banks, the Tory judgement was to do even less.
1219 Tory MP Henry Bellingham asks how many of the illegal immigrants found to be guarding the PM's car have now been deported. Mr Brown says he will write to the MP with the answer, to howls of derision from the Tory benches.
1218 Nick Clegg lists Mr Brown's alleged failings, including his "cynical" claim that he would end bankers' bonuses and create 100,000 new jobs. He calls Mr Brown the "say anything, do nothing prime minister". Mr Brown bats it away by saying the government is in talks with the banks on extending lending and rejects Mr Clegg's other words of advice.
1217 Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg asks how many of the initiatives announced at the pre-Budget report have actually been put into action. Mr Brown list them and hails the help the government is giving to people struggling with mortgages.
1217 Mr Brown, as is the convention, gets the final word, saying Mr Cameron's judgement on the economy has been "wrong, wrong wrong".
1216 Back in the Commons - Mr Brown hits back with a jibe at Ken Clarke the "shadow shadow chancellor", who he says backed the government on the VAT cut. He then claims Britain has one of the lowest public debts in the developed world. Mr Cameron says he never gets his facts right. Ken Clarke voted against the VAT cut, he says. Mr Brown could not even get the age when the painter Titian died correct when he quoted it the other day, taunts the Tory leader.
1215 We've just had the text of Sir James Crosby's resignation letter to the FSA - he says that the HBOS whistleblower's allegations had been investigated independently on behalf of the HBOS board and the results, which he said showed they had no merit, "shared with the FSA". He says that while he had done reports for the government on ID cards and the mortgage market, he had no political affiliations and in the light of recent media reports it was right to step down from the FSA to ensure he does not make his colleagues' job harder. He remains "totally confident" there was no merit to the allegations.
1211 Mr Brown goes for his nuclear option and invokes Barack Obama. Mr Cameron reels off a list of foreign leaders who he says have criticised Mr Brown's VAT cut. The Speaker steps in to silence baying Labour backbenchers.
1209 Mr Cameron continues trying to get Mr Brown admit he made in an error of judgement in appointing Crosby as an adviser. Mr Brown tries to turn the question of judgement back on to Mr Cameron - and the two trade blows over who has the best judgement on economic matters.
1208 Gordon Brown looks like he's trying to put clear water between himself and Sir James Crosby. He says the former HBOS chief did two reports for him but is no longer an economic adviser to the government. No-one's mentioned Sir James's role as an adviser on identity cards yet...
1207From BBC political correspondent David Thompson: So yes, Sir James Crosby was top of the agenda - but from an unexpected source, the Labour backbencher Khalid Mahmood. His intervention allowed Gordon Brown to get his retaliation in early, announcing Sir James' resignation to the House, insisting that serious, but contested allegations would be investigated and taking at least some of the sting from David Cameron's attack on his decision to use Sir James as an adviser - hence the Tory leader's jibe that Mr Mahmood's question was a 'planted' one.
1205 Tory leader David Cameron is not going to be put off though. He goes straight in on Crosby, asking the PM if it was a "serious error of judgement" to appoint him as an adviser. Mr Brown says KPMG cleared the bank and there is another review going on into bank bonuses.
1203 Labour loyalist Khalid Mahmood lobs an easy question on Crosby to try and get the issue out of the way. Mr Brown says the system of banking regulation will be reformed and says it's right for Sir James to step down from the FSA to clear his name.
1202 And we're off. Has David Cameron had to do a last minute rewrite after the Crosby resignation? Or will he still try to nail Gordon Brown on bank irresponsibility? We'll see.
1201 Was Sir James Crosby pushed or did he go of his own volition? Nobody knows, says Nick Robinson but it would have sapped confidence in the banking regulators if he had carried on.
1159 Just a couple of minutes to go. The Commons chamber is filling up nicely as a debate on international development carries on. This could be a cracker of a session.
1153 The BBC's Carole Walker says Sir James' resignation is a "worrying development" for the government, given his role in advising Gordon Brown on how to salvage the mortgage market. It also opens up questions about whether the banks behaved recklessly with people's money, she adds.
1152 Talk about a pre-PMQs bombshell - Sir James Crosby has just quit as the deputy head of the Financial Services Authority. This is the man accused of sacking a whistleblower who warned about risk taking at HBOS. It is almost certain to dominate PMQs exchanges - but will it be enough to take the heat off Gordon Brown, who relies on Sir James as a key economic adviser?
1150 Welcome to our live text coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. It is likely to be a lively session this week with Conservative leader David Cameron expected to turn up the heat on Gordon Brown over claims one of his top advisers sacked a whistleblower who warned about excessive risk-taking at mortgage bank HBOS. There has also been another raft of dire economic news, with unemployment hitting a 10-year high and the Bank of England warning of a "deep recession". The session gets underway at mid-day in the Commons. You can follow all the action and reaction here - including instant views from my colleague David Thompson - and contribute your own thoughts via e-mail and text. We will use as many of them as we can.
PMQ ANALYSIS FROM THE DAILY POLITICS
The Daily Politics' analysis of Prime Minister's Questions.
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