Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Wednesday, 17 June 2009 14:48 UK

The Full Story: PM's questions


Watch the full session of prime minister's questions

By Emma Griffiths

1330 OK, thanks for joining us - the live text commentary ends here but you can keep watching the Speaker and the various tributes to him via the live stream at the top of this page. Many thanks to everyone for your emails, tweets and texts. We'll be back next Wednesday with a new Speaker in place - hope you can join us then.

1328 Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable tells the World at One it is not sensible to start ring-fencing certain budgets that will not be cut - the Tories have indicated they will protect health spending. Stephen Timms says the public finances require "long term planning".

1326 Philip Hammond, for the Tories, says Mr Brown is "conveniently ignoring" capital spending budget cuts and the cost of financing public debt.

1325 Over in BBC Radio 4's World at One studio - MPs are discussing the public spending clash from PMQs. Lib Dem Vince Cable says there is right and wrong on both sides - spending is going to be cut, he says but the debate is whether you cut "over and above that". Stephen Timms, for the government, says Mr Brown set out the position very clearly - current spending will rise, capital spending will not.

Michael Martin tells the party leaders that they should have reformed the expenses system earlier

1322 Mr Cameron wishes him the best. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is up - this could be a little uncomfortable as he had called for Mr Martin to quit. He notes this by remarking that under the circumstances, it was generous of the Speaker to give him time to speak. He says "personal kindness" has been the outstanding characteristic of Mr Martin's time as Speaker.

TonyButcher tweets:Can't believe unemployment wasn't bought up by Cameron. Read TonyButcher's tweets.

1319 Mr Cameron says Mr Martin's life story is "inspiring" - he says he hopes Mr Martin's constituents in Glasgow "will be as friendly to me as you have been" - to some laughter and a smile from Mr Martin. Presumably the Tory leader is not expecting a warm welcome in the upcoming by election.

1316 Tory leader David Cameron gets to his feet. He jokes that he can now use the word "you" without being told off by Mr Martin - as he was earlier at PMQs. He says while it has been a turbulent time to be Speaker - seven other Speakers have been beheaded - though that was some time ago...

e-mail sent in by reader
Why, with such extensive and glorifying tributes, was this speaker removed? Is it not hypocrisy that MPs used him as a scapegoat, and now turn around to praise his service?
Tony Hall, Nottingham

1315 A long tribute from Mr Brown which is taking in what Mr Martin has done over his life - jokes are few, largely about him being teetotal, but there are plenty of references to Mr Martin having overcome a tough background to rise to a high position in the land.

e-mail sent in by reader
I feel sorry for the fact that Mr Martin has to leave his job as a scapegoat for dishonest MP's.
Dan Ricardo, Birmingham
1313 Mr Brown says it is a "great privilege" to offer the Commons' "heartfelt thanks" for the Speaker's public service.

LeeConti tweets:Aw. I'm welling up about the Speaker's speech. But he shouldn't refer to religion in a political speech. Even his final speech. Read LeeConti's tweets.

e-mail sent in by reader
Whatever you might say about some mistakes, at the end of the day, he always worked hard and said what he really thinks. Yes he might be stuttering, but this must be an emotional and difficult thing for him to do. At the end he did the honourable thing, and we should give him our respect and our thanks for that. Good luck Sir, and we wish you well for the future.
Paul Atkinson, Hastings, UK

e-mail sent in by reader
Could Michael Martin have any less charisma? I am falling asleep watching this. Surely a speaker should be good at public speaking?!
Stephanie, London

Ben Wright
1309 From BBC political correspondent Ben Wright: Nick Clegg asked the PM about banking reform and said the government had let the banks "get away with blue murder". The PM says banking reform's happening even if the Lib Dem leader couldn't bring himself to agree with the government in front of the Commons. In a later answer, Gordon Brown said he's had no advice from his sacked former spinner Damian McBride. Maybe not, but he's certainly getting strategy advice from elsewhere, including Shaun Woodward. The former Tory MP devised the famous "Labour Tax Bombshell" posters with Saatchi and Saatchi. They helped swing the 1992 election John Major's way. A similarly blunt attack on the issue of public service cuts is now being deployed against the Conservatives. The argument will rage until the election but won't be refereed by Michael Martin who's done his last PMQs.

1307 Mr Martin says he is "a little isolated" in Speaker's House and thanks his wife Mary for coming down to London every week, away from her "beloved Glasgow". She's done a lot to make it a place of welcome, he says. In a reference to the expenses furore he says Parliament is at its "lowest ebb" but praises the majority of MPs. He has also thanked a variety of staff members in Parliament.

e-mail sent in by reader
I don't like Michael Martin but he still deserves the respect and recognition of the House for his services.
James Law, Leicestershire

1306 Mr Martin is reading through a statement about his career - the Commons has filled up again and MPs are listening quietly. He's thanking those who have helped him and the people of Glasgow for their "friendship, support and trust". He says he has enjoyed "every day" he has been "in this House" - surely not the day MPs got up to urge him to quit?

1305 Speaker Michael Martin is still on his feet in the Commons - he says it was the "greatest honour of his life" to be elected as MP for Glasgow Springburn.

stephen_aw tweets: Not exactly charismatic, is he? Read stephen_aw's tweets.

We all make mistakes, but he has served the commons well. Shame it's expenses scandal he will be remembered before. He did his job with honour and pride. good luck for the future Mr Speaker.
Simon Carter, Luton

Unfortunately Mr Martin is stuttering and stumbling through his farewell speech to the house. He appears a little doddery, and some may say it is timely that he should leave the chair. Farewell to an honest man and staunch servant of democracy.
Dave Miller, Aberdeen, Scotland

scottspeig tweets:Clegg poor, Cameron lacklustre and Brown refusing to answer questions. Is there really a point to having PMQs?? Read scottspeig's tweets.

Peter Lilley's 10 Minute rule bill is fundamental to our democracy. Our rights as voters are being eroded in all directions. It is a minimum that Parliament should fully debate new legislation on our behalf.
Evelyne, Oxford, UK

It's all well and good offering praise and good will to the speaker, but shouldn't this be done genuinely outside PMQ?
John, London

Yawn, is this what it is going to be like for the next 12 months?? Brown is deluded and Cameron is a PR man.....Heaven help us!
John, Ware

MrsElsieE tweets:quite simply deplorable that all MP's are so sorry to see Martin go. It really is an old boys network after all. Read MrsElsieE's tweets.

1258 Labour's Parmjit Dhanda says now is not the time for an "establishment candidate", drastic changes are needed which will need a "new broom". More candidates' videos are available on the Daily Politics website...

1257 For the Lib Dems, Speaker hopeful Alan Beith says he's always been a reformer and now is the time for reform.

1257 The Daily Politics says Tory Ann Widdecombe says it's vital the Speaker connects with the public - she's a well known face and thinks she's the woman for the job. John Bercow is the favourite and we'll know who gets it next Monday when MPs vote in a secret ballot

1255 A quick look at some of those who want to replace Mr Martin as Speaker - Tory Sir George Young says Parliament needs to be more relevant and more effective. While the studio discussion takes place Speaker Martin is addressing MPs in the Commons at the start of what is likely to be an afternoon of tributes to him.

1255 It seems fish stocks is an issue on which the two parties can agree - Mr Gove, says it is an "absolute catastrophe" what has happened to global fish stocks. Mr Bradshaw says the EU "are finally getting it" - Ms Scacchi says they are "very very slow"

1254 Ben Bradshaw, an ex fisheries minister who is apparently in the film, says the government has done a lot on the issue. Everyone needs to be careful about what fish they are eating but it's a global problem, he says. Fish don't respect national boundaries, he points out. But anyone selling bluefish tuna is "totally irresponsible" and should be boycotted, he said

1253 Actress Greta Scacchi is in the Daily Politics studio. She's worried about fish stocks and wants people to go to see the documentary The End of the Line. She's happy to admit she is shamelessly "jumping on the celebrity bandwagon".

1252 People are going to start switching off their TVs if the spending cuts debate doesn't get past the 10% cuts vs honesty row, Nick Robinson says. It might take off if the choices and priorities are outlined.

1251 Why didn't Nick Clegg mention his new pledge not to renew Trident at PMQs? Nick Robinson says it is rather surprising. Politically the Lib Dems are reaching out to disaffected Labour voters, he says.

1250 Will the Tories be raising taxes? Mr Gove says shadow chancellor George Osborne has refused to rule it out. He says the next government will have to take difficult decisions and will not be able to cut taxes in the way they would like. People want politicians to be honest about spending, he says.

lastyearsman tweets:Amused by Cameron's "bring it on" gesture - that's not how PMQs works... Read lastyearsman's tweets.

e-mail sent in by reader
I don't get it! Giving praise to the Speaker is like congratulating the look-out on the Titanic for doing a good job!
Steve Gale, Essex

1244 Labour's Ben Bradshaw says on Daily Politics the figures are "dizzying" and he would rather talk about the principles - which he says are essentially Labour would support public services while he claims the Tories would cut them.

Nick Robinson
1242 Is Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward planning a similar campaign to the one he ran when he was a Tory about Labour's "tax bombshell" in the 1990s? Nick Robinson says he has the PM's ear and often briefs him before PMQs. David Cameron is taking a gamble - a gamble that people know the economy has changed.

Daily Politics' analysis of PMQs with MPs Ben Bradshaw and Michael Gove

1241 So - what did the experts think? Back in the Daily Politics studio Nick Robinson says Mr Brown has lost the argument this week with commentators on public spending - but politics is not about commentators.

1236 The Speaker has called order for the last time at PMQs and it's over. Peter Lilley is now speaking about his 10 minute rule bill which calls for more time for government measures to be debated in Parliament. Most MPs decide it is not an issue for them and are filing out of the chamber.

1233 Labour's Brian Donohoe asks about excessive profits of energy companies. I thought there'd be more tributes to the Speaker than this - still they are expected to follow later this afternoon.

1231 A friendly question from Labour MP Emily Thornberry who asks about the expression "play the ball not the man" - Mr Brown interprets it as a question about policy and his claim the Tories prefer not to talk about it at PMQs.

McMaximilian tweets:Our MPs are solely concerned with point scoring. Brown is bombastic and Cameron smarmy, politics never changes Read McMaximilian's tweets.

1229 Lib Dem Paul Burstow asks a question about elder abuse. Will the PM look at legislation on the issue? Mr PM says he hopes the criminal law will protect elderly people and the regulatory framework will be kept "under review". Abuse is unacceptable he says.

caronmlindsay tweets:Angus Robertson asking about referendum on independence. Swatted away by Gordon like it was an annoying insect. Read caronmlindsay's tweets.

1228 Lee Scott, the Tory MP asks if the government has received any informal briefings from former spin doctor Damian McBride. A solemn sounding Mr Brown replies simply: I have not. This is met with ooohhs from the Conservative benches.

1225 Another thank you to the Speaker for his "kindness" from Labour's Joan Walley. She's asking about spending on further education colleges.

Ben Wright
1227 From BBC political correspondent Ben Wright: Almost an exact replay of last week's PMQs and a probable preview of next weeks. The cuts versus cuts debate is going to go on for months and is already shaping the next election. The two party leaders fired a barrage of numbers at each other. David Cameron repeatedly asked the PM to confess to real terms cuts in public expenditure from 2011. Gordon Brown refused and said the Tories were committed to making cuts, regardless of the state of the books. The Tory leader tried to tie in Gordon Brown's character to the confusion surrounding these numbers, and said this was a matter of "telling the truth". Mr Brown reprised his "many not the few" refrain and laid into the Tories plan to cut inheritance tax. That looks certain to be a big part of Labour's campaign. Labour MPs were particularly boisterous today, certainly compared to the sullen benches of recent weeks.

1226 MP Judy Mallaber wishes the Speaker well before going on to ask about sales of knives to youths

davethehowarth tweets: God David Cameron is childish. No tribute to the speaker? Read davethehowarth 's tweets.

1226 DUP MP Peter Robinson asks about reported plans to axe the full time police reserve in Northern Ireland. Gordon Brown says extra resources have been committed to deal with dissident groups in Northern Ireland. People's security will not be put at risk, he says

MickFealty tweets:My four year old watching her first #PMQs wants to know: "are they real people on the planet?" No coherent answer here... Read MickFealty's tweets.

1224 Mr Brown is asked about the suggestion dossiers are being compiled on opponents of the Heathrow third runway. Tory MP John Randall asks if there is one on him - and on Labour MP John McDonnell, to some laughter. Mr Brown says he knows nothing about such dossiers.

1224 Labour MP Ann Clwyd asks the PM to condemn "the appalling racist attacks" on families in Belfast - he does so.

jamestarbit tweets:How can Gordon Brown can stand up and talk such nonsense and assume people actually believe him? It's literally beyond me... Read jamestarbit's tweets.

1222 Labour MP Barry Sheerman is annoyed about Lloyds' plans for jobs in his area - better standards are required. Mr Brown says he's happy to look at the issue.

sarabedford tweets:So how many MPs will queue up to praise Michael Martin after sticking the knife in last month? Read sarabedford's tweets.

1221 Mr Clegg says the PM is "trying to have it both ways" and is "passing the buck" - he says the government is to blame for the recession, having let the bankers "get away from blue murder". Mr Brown says both high street and investment banks failed - Mr Clegg has called for them to be separated - he says the Lib Dem leader "supports what we are doing but can't bear to say it" - to some chuckles

Nick Clegg
1220 Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg asks why the chancellor doesn't want to fundamentally change the way the UK regulates the banks - Mr Brown says they are making fundamental changes.

1218 SDLP MP Eddie McGrady continues the Speaker tributes before asking a question about the devolution of policing and justice. Mr Brown says he hopes it will be completed soon

e-mail sent in by reader
I think the current government should accept that cuts have to be made and stop treating the electorate as mindless numpties! We have a huge debt that needs addressing!
Scott Speight, Stratford-upon-avon

1218 Much pointing from the PM who gets a big cheer from Labour MPs when he sits down.

1217 Mr Brown is hitting the piece of paper in front of him with his finger as he drums home his "10% cuts under the Tories" message. Mr Cameron says character and policy come together "in this vital question" of telling the truth about public spending. He says Mr Brown has drawn his "precious dividing line" on cuts between reality and himself

1215 Mr Brown says the Tories are descending back into a personality row, rather than tackling policy. The Conservatives have to "face up to their responsibility", he says - everyone else is injecting more money into their countries Mr Brown says.

Chelicera666 tweets:watching it... dont know how much praise the speaker should get really.. hopefully none Read Chelicera666's tweets.

1214 In a dig at the PM's leadership troubles Mr Cameron says "they shout for half an hour on a Wednesday and spend the rest of the week trying to get rid of him". He says if Mr Brown cannot be "straight" with people he is "not worthy" to be the PM. Lots of shouts from the Tory benches. Mr Martin calls order - Mr Cameron has apparently used the word "you" which is a no-no in the Commons chamber.

1212 Cheers from Labour MPs as Mr Brown says Labour is the party of the many compared to the Tories party of the few. Mr Cameron says the PM is "sinking and sinking" and says he needs to stand back and ask "why he is so distrusted". He says it's not about the recession adding "there's a recession all over Europe" - lots of laughs and shouts from the Labour benches as Mr Martin tries to restore order. The PM is always saying the economic downturn is affecting the whole world while Labour MPs obviously believe Mr Cameron likes to pin the the blame on Mr Brown.

e-mail sent in by reader
This is the best I've seen Gordon Brown perform in a while. Actually seems to be talking sense.
David Cooper, Manchester

1211 Mr Cameron says the financial analysts are on his side. He urges the PM to "give a straight answer and be straight with the British people". Mr Brown says he is the only one detailing the figures, the Tories aren't giving any. He goes on to list figures he says show rises in expenditure even with inflation is taken into account.

1209 Mr Brown is getting a lot of support from the Labour benches for his public spending attacks - this is a traditional campaigning line for the party. The PM says "current expenditure" will continue to rise in "cash and real terms" while the Tories plan to cut inheritance tax "for the few and not the many" - to cheers from Labour MPs.

e-mail sent in by reader
Why are all the MPs praising the Speaker when they were all stabbing him in the back.
Graham, Bushey, Herts

1208 Mr Brown says his Tory opposite number "better admit" he wants to cut expenditure by "10%". Mr Cameron says it sounds "more and more desperate" and whichever way you look at the government's figures, they are planning cuts. This could go on for some time. Shaun Woodward must be heckling from the Labour benches as Mr Cameron says he was "pretty useless when he worked for us and he's pretty useless now".

David Cameron
1207 Mr Cameron presses the PM on his own spending plans - asking him to admit they are a "real terms cut". Mr Brown fires back his accusation that the Tories plan 10% cuts. Praise for Mr Martin seems a long time ago now.

1206 Public spending is back on the agenda - lots of shouts from Labour MPs. Mr Brown says he is investing to get out of the recession while the Tories would cut and make it last longer. Mr Cameron says he is dodging the question and says Peter Mandelson is "allowing him to go on with the job" - the Business Secretary was promoted in the recent reshuffle and is now said to be effectively deputy prime minister.

1204 Tory leader David Cameron says "welcome to prime minister's planted questions" - to some shouts from the other side. He has a dig at the PM's description of him as "Mr 10%" - he says Labour MPs thought Mr Brown was talking about "his own opinion polls ratings" - Tory MPs love that one

1203 Sure enough Labour MP Alan Whithead has started the praise for the Speaker, before asking a question about green energy and a quick dig at the Tories over public spending. Cue another reference to Andrew Lansley from the PM.

1202 The Commons has filled up, Gordon Brown is on his feet. He pays tribute to the Speaker saying all MPs will have the chance to recognise his "great contribution" later.

Nick Robinson
1200 Nick Robinson says a lot of Tories "absolutely despise" John Bercow, the bookmaker's favourite for Speaker - and a Tory MP. They'd rather vote for Labour's Margaret Beckett, he says. Michael Gove disagrees - he says John Bercow is a friend and a good Parliamentarian

1159 We're getting nearer the main event now. BBC political editor Nick Robinson is in the Daily Politics studio. Apparently at wannabe Speaker hustings held in the House of Commons earlier there were more candidates and journalists than there were MPs, at first anyway - although it filled up a little later.

1157 Unison boss Dave Prentis says whichever party is in power there will be cuts. Slightly bizarre moment when an FBI sign comes up on the screen and interrupts the interview. Are they bidding to run the ID cards project?, Mr Gove asks.

Michael Gove
1156 The Tories will try to get "value for money" as spending will be tight, he says. Will he be looking at a 10% cut in the education budget - not necessarily Mr Gove - the shadow education secretary - says. He says the party doesn't know exactly what finances will be inherited, should they win.

1155 Mr Gove says the Tories have looked "across the board" at where spending restraints might come in. He says Labour can't give any guarantees either.

1154 Mr Bradshaw says he would be "surprised" if health spending was cut - this is the issue that put shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley at the heart of last week's PMQs spending row. Mr Bradshaw says "everybody knows" Labour will spend more on public services than the Tories.

Ben Bradshaw
1153 Across the board, public spending is projected to fall in the Budget Red Book, he says - but we don't know what will happen in the economy yet, Mr Bradshaw adds.

1151 Ben Bradshaw, asked about public spending, says the government cannot say now what each department will get in the future but the "basic principle" for Labour was to invest in public services - there has been a row over who is going to cut what all week since the last PMQs.

1148 Expenses chat over and the smiles are back on the faces of Mr Bradshaw and Mr Gove who, I notice, are wearing appropriately coloured ties - Mr Bradshaw in red and Mr Gove in blue.

1147 It's getting a little tense in the Daily Politics studio. All MPs' expenses are due to be published tomorrow - the Telegraph has already published quite a few of them. Are MPs expecting a sleepless night tonight? Ben Bradshaw says he doesn't know what will come up but it will be good to see an end to "trial by Telegraph".

1146 Has Labour MP Jim Devine been hung out to dry? He's been barred from standing for the party at the next election and says he feels he has been let down. Mr Bradshaw tells Daily Politics he hasn't been and says he's still waiting for anyone to be sacked from the Tory frontbench over expenses. Michael Gove says a proper scrutiny panel is looking at claims made and says he put his own case to the voters by holding a public meeting on the issue

1145 Ben Bradshaw again says the Tories are guilty of "arrogance" after, he says, suggesting three times they will win the next election. Tory leader David Cameron has been under fire over his joke German accents to mock ID cards - Michael Gove says you have to have a sense of humour about these things.

Ben Bradshaw
1143 Ben Bradshaw on Daily Politics denies suggestions the government, after 12 years in power, is "slowing down". He's just moved departments to Culture, Media and Sport - to which he was promoted as Secretary of State in the reshuffle.

1143 But what will the subject be for his final session? Another issue splitting the parties - ID cards - is also back in the news. The Tories have written to firms bidding to run the controversial scheme warning them a Tory government would scrap it. Michael Gove says it is "quite wrong" for a government to try to tie a future government's hands on the issue. Ben Bradshaw, the culture secretary, says the Tories are being "arrogant" and points out ID cards were in Labour's 2005 manifesto

1141 Michael Martin is now settled in his usual Commons spot - Central Lobby was packed with visitors eager to get a view of his final pre-PMQs walk to the Commons chamber.

1138 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of this week's prime minister's questions - a momentous session as it is the last PMQs Speaker Michael Martin will oversee. He is the first Speaker in modern times to have been effectively forced out of office - due to pressure over his handling of the MPs' expenses furore. Expect numerous tributes from MPs from all sides during PMQs even though most of the afternoon has been set aside for tributes to be paid. What else might come up? Unemployment figures are out, suggesting the UK total has hit a 12-year high - that seems a likely topic for opposition parties. Also David Cameron and Nick Clegg might challenge Gordon Brown's decision to hold an inquiry into the Iraq war behind closed doors. We'll be bringing you all the developments as they happen plus analysis from BBC correspondents and guests on BBC TV and radio - including Ben Bradshaw and Michael Gove on Daily Politics.

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