Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 12:58 UK

The Full Story: PM's Questions


Prime minister's questions in full

By Emma Griffiths

1256 And that's all from us for this week after a PM's questions dominated by claim and counter-claim about future job cuts and disagreements on prisons policy. Join us again next week.

1252 Labour's Caroline Flint is not a fan of the camp - a "relatively small number of people" are monopolising the area for their protest, she says. And some people are there for "other reasons". She also feels sorry for the police officers subjected to protesters' megaphones all day. Baroness Warsi says she has enjoyed seeing it but she won't miss it: "You've had your moment and it's time to move on," she says - to rare cross party agreement from Ms Flint.

1247 Over to the "democracy village" - the encampment opposite Parliament which the High Court ruled yesterday is to be evicted. Art dealer Philip Mould says he first thought it was a "mess" but having taken a closer look he says there are some "quite moving" works of art there. Protester Dean Puckett says their presence has shown that not everyone supports war - but says more homeless people have been joining the camp so it does look a "bit ramshackle". He says any criticism of them can be sent back to the government - what are they doing for the homeless?

1243Baroness Warsi says there is no doubt that the NHS "needs reform" but it was right to protect its funding. Caroline Flint says if cuts are being made in local government on social care and were not being shared with health - there would be an impact on, for example, elderly people leaving hospital to go home where they needed care services. It was right to question whether health spending should rise while adult social care was going down "dramatically" she adds.

1239 Baroness Warsi says it wasn't that long ago that Labour was saying there would be Labour investment or "Tory cuts" - she says it is important to be honest and acknowledge there will be some job losses but overall unemployment will fall.

1237 Back over in the Daily Politics studio - Caroline Flint and Baroness Warsi are discussing jobs cuts - one of the big issues in PM's questions this week. Caroline Flint is asking about where Britain is going to export to - given that European markets are so weak at the moment.

1235 MPs start to file out as Labour MP Meg Munn stands up to make a point of order - she says a well-trailed meeting between the deputy PM and Sheffield Forgemasters on Friday had not in fact gone ahead. Mr Bercow says that is not a matter for him.

1234 The Speaker detains MPs in the Commons as he says details of a Home Office statement on non-EU migration had been passed to the media before MPs were told about it. Mr Bercow says he has established that at a Home Office press briefing on Monday, copies of a statement were made available to journalists - the content of which was very similar to Theresa May's statement to MPs that afternoon. Mr Bercow says he is concerned ministers make statements to the House first and in this case "the opposite happened" which was a "discourtesy". Theresa May stands up and says she "deeply" regrets the fact that the copy had been handed out first to the press and she takes full responsibility for that. She says it resulted from her decision to switch from announcing the change in a written statement to announcing it in a full verbal statement. She apologises and says it won't happen again.

1230 Questions on Scotland and further education funding follow - then Labour MP Graham Jones says his constituency of Hyndburn has had the biggest cuts in Britain - nearly £3m at a district level. As he goes on, noise levels rise, Mr Cameron says there will be difficult decisions and everyone should be "honest about that" - but he would help areas in need, via government grants and the session comes to an end.

1229 Much groaning as Lib Dem MP Annette Brooke goes into a long question involving a letter from a five-year-old constituent and a call for a day to celebrate children - the Speaker intervenes to say she must be heard - but she gets a big cheer from her own benches in the end. Mr Cameron welcomes the question.

1228 Former Labour minister Michael Meacher has another go at raising the job cuts story - he also has a dig at the "super rich" who he says do not stand to lose their wealth. Mr Cameron says the MP fought the last election on £50bn of "unspecified cuts". He also says Labour would not introduce a bank levy "until the rest of the world decided to do it" whereas his government had done it within a few weeks.

1227 After sidestepping another prisons question - Tory MP Tony Baldry gets some cheers for advising Mr Cameron to ignore Mail columnist Simon Heffer, who has suggested he abolish Dfid. Mr Cameron says they have made a commitment to increase overseas aid spending and Britain should "stick to its word". Aid was in the UK's interests - he said, and gave Britain some "moral authority" on the international stage.

1225 Another friendly question, from Tory MP Robin Walker about hospices and government grants. Mr Cameron takes the opportunity to pay tributes to the MP's father, Lord Walker, and his "pioneering" policy of allowing council houses to be sold to tenants.

1224 The Speaker stops a Tory MP asking a question as it starts with a dig at David Miliband - the Labour leadership contender. It's a good idea to start with a question about the government's policies, Mr Bercow says.

1223 Another question on job cuts from a new Labour MP who was a former head of the child poverty action group, Kate Green. Mr Cameron starts by congratulating her - but says there would have been cuts under Labour and the key was to start "gripping the problem" to get growth in the recovery. Labour MPs are annoyed as he suggests they are playing a "pathetic game".

1222 Things have quietened down a bit now in the Commons - another question on Afghanistan. Mr Cameron is talking about young soldiers who have lost limbs - the government must make sure they can have "fulfilled lives" he says.

1220 The sole Green MP Caroline Lucas asks about an exit strategy for Afghanistan and about Britain talking to the Taliban - Mr Cameron congratulates Ms Lucas on her "incredible achievement" at winning her seat. He says it will not be a purely military solution for dealing with Afghanistan - but there are different types of Taliban fighters - some linked to al-Qaeda, others there for other reasons.

1218 Tory Gary Streeter asks about young people in care and how to help them - to general murmurs of agreement. The PM says Britain needs to "do better" on looking after children in care. They are looking at helping those who leave care at 18 and have nowhere to go, he says.

Mike Sergeant
1217 From BBC political correspondent Mike Sergeant: The debate over the Treasury's economic forecasts can leave us feeling somewhat tangled by economic claim and counter claim. But, when the spending cuts fall, and public sector jobs start to go, this will be a really explosive issue. Labour's Harriet Harman wants to attack using a simple narrative "the Budget costs jobs". Cameron's response is - if we weren't freezing pay, job losses would be even greater. Overall unemployment will fall, argues the Prime Minister, with the private sector moving in. Once again Harman was trying to make the Lib Dems feel uncomfortable. This is Labour's tactic - to try to make the Conservatives' coalition partners squirm.

1217 Speaker John Bercow urges MPs to be a "bit briefer" after much groaning at a lengthy question on foreign students from a Lib Dem MP.

1216 Labour's George Howarth raises prisons again - Mr Cameron says prisons can work but "it's just not working properly at the moment" and there had to be reform. Deputy PM Nick Clegg seems to be in agreement as he's clearly nodding as the PM speaks.

1215 Tory York Outer MP Julian Sturdy suggests his area was neglected by Labour - Cue cheers from his own benches and anger from the Labour MPs.

1214 Labour's John Cryer has another go at raising the unemployment figures and suggests Mr Cameron's comments are "tinged with contempt". Again Mr Cameron says Labour have got it "wrong" and they are publishing the figures and they show the growth in the private sector will make up for fewer jobs in the public sector.

1213 That exchange is over - it's a friendly question from a Tory MP about homecoming parades for troops in Afghanistan. MPs quieten down as Mr Cameron pledges support for troops - something all the parties agree on.

David Cameron
1211 The PM has fun outlining details of a £72,000 "meeting pod" in Ms Harman's former department - to much laughter from government benches. He says Labour went from "peaceniks to peace pods" and bankrupted the country in the process.

1210 Ms Harman has a go at the Lib Dems - saying they are just sitting there allowing it to happen. Nick Clegg, who no longer gets questions at PMQs because he's now part of the government, nods as Mr Cameron responds.

1209 Ms Harman insists the figures show unemployment will be higher than it would have been without the Budget and again asks what the cost of extra welfare payments will be. They go round the houses a bit: "There are going to be more people in work" says Mr Cameron, who suggests Ms Harman has not looked at the figures. "We would look at the figures if he would publish them," says Ms Harman - to cheers from her own MPs.

1207 Speaker John Bercow intervenes to calm down MPs, after Mr Cameron quotes Digby Jones who worked for the Labour government. Ms Harman suggests many will suffer "abject misery" because of the government's plans and asks what the cost of unemployment will be. They continue to row over the figures.

1205 Ms Harman accuses David Cameron of keeping the figures "hidden". Mr Cameron says former chancellor Alistair Darling had said it was "inevitable" that public sector jobs would be cut. Ms Harman says the "secret" Treasury reports shows half a million public sector jobs will go - and "even more" in the private sector.

Harriet Harman
1203 Ms Harman has, as expected, raised the issue of forecast job losses as a result of government austerity measures. Mr Cameron urges Labour MPs to "sit patiently" as he begins to answer. He says the Office for Budget Responsibility produced full tables for employment in the public and private sector and unemployment was forecast to fall every year. He says the figures show that under Labour's plans there would have been 70,000 fewer public sector jobs and 150,000 fewer over two years. Mr Cameron brings in a bit of football and suggests Ms Harman has scored an "own goal".

1201 Ken Clarke's jail comments are first up as PM questions gets under way - is it about saving money, asks a Labour MP. Mr Cameron says the government wants to clear up the prisons system.

1159 Over in the Commons, the benches are filling up. David Cameron is in his seat as ministers wrap up questions on Northern Ireland

1158 What could come up at PMQs? Mike Sergeant says (see 1150 below) job cuts seems likely after the leaked figures reported in the Guardian saying the Treasury's own figures suggest that up to 1.3m jobs will go in the next five years - due to government austerity measures. The BBC's James Landale says the government isn't denying it but says that might not be the full picture - the government has assumed, as has the Office for Budgetary Responsibility, that more private jobs will be created.

1154 Mr Davies urges the justice secretary to rethink his prison plans "before people lose faith in politicians even more".

Caroline Flint
1152 Labour's Caroline Flint suggests the coalition government is interested in "saving money" on prisons policy - Baroness Warsi hits back by blaming Labour for Britain's "economic mess". Ms Flint says crime went down under Labour. Conservative backbencher Philip Davies is not too happy - he says many Tory voters will be disappointed. He says it is a "nonsense" that prison doesn't work - the longer people spend in prison, the less likely they are to reoffend, he says.

Mike Sergeant
1150 From BBC political correspondent Mike Sergeant: It would be amazing if Harriet Harman didn't bring up the leaked Guardian story on public sector job reductions. The opposition has argued consistently that the Budget would hurt growth and cost jobs. It may come as no surprise to many that public sector employment would fall sharply at a time when many budgets will be cut by a quarter. But that won't soften the political impact much. We can expect Mr Cameron to argue strongly that unemployment is expected to fall over the next five years, as the private sector creates more jobs. Yet again - the economy and public finances could dominate PMQs.

1146 Another story in the news are Justice Secretary Ken Clarke's comments on the "amazing" growth in the prison population. He suggests another look is needed at short prison sentences. Prison is also a hot topic in Scotland where MSPs are to vote on plans to reduce the number of short prison terms. Baroness Warsi - a former criminal defence lawyer - says for some people a "short, sharp shock" does work. She says there has been no U-turn by the Tories - Mr Clarke was saying some people had to be sent to prison but it could not be right to have so many people in prisons at great cost - yet reoffending rates were still high.

1143 The arrest of alleged Russian spies in the US is being discussed in the Daily Politics studio - Britain's former ambassador to Washington Sir Christopher Meyer reveals that the KGB had "several cracks at me" in the past. At one stage he was approached by two Russian girls, one of whom had asked if he wanted to dance with her and stay the night at her flat - which was conveniently situated near the airport he was due to leave from the following day. He didn't take her up on the offer.

1140 Hello and welcome to our coverage of this week's prime minister's questions. David Cameron will face questions for half an hour from noon, with the main feature being his clash with acting Labour leader Harriet Harman from about five past. You can watch all the action live and I'll be bringing you all the key points in text with analysis from my BBC colleague Mike Sergeant and the reaction from ex-minister Caroline Flint and Conservative chairman Baroness Warsi, who are guests on the Daily Politics.

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