Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Thursday, 23 February 2012

Cameron is 'running away' from PMQs, Labour claims

The prime minister is "running away" from his weekly question session with MPs, shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle has claimed.

Speaking during the business statement on 23 February 2012, Ms Eagle noted that future Commons recess dates, announced earlier in the month, meant MPs' last day in the chamber would often fall on a Tuesday.

She claimed the government had done this on purpose, in order for David Cameron to avoid extra sessions of prime minister's questions (PMQs), which always take place on Wednesdays.

"It looks very much like he's running away from prime minister's questions at every opportunity," she told MPs.

But Commons Leader Sir George Young rubbished the suggestion, claiming that the number of PMQ sessions per sitting day had actually risen during the current parliamentary session.

He also told MPs that Mr Cameron turned up for the question session more often than his predecessor, Gordon Brown.

Sir George also used the session to deny he was one of the three Tory cabinet ministers reported as having concerns about the controversial Health and Social Care Bill.

Earlier this month the grassroots ConservativeHome website wrote an editorial criticising the legislation that enacts changes to the NHS in England, claiming it had spoken to a number of cabinet ministers who were worried about the bill.

Sir George said there was "no truth in the rumours" that he was one of the ministers quoted, telling MPs he supported the bill "both publicly and privately".

The Commons leader also announced forthcoming business in the chamber, confirming that MPs would hold two estimates day debates in the last week of February.

Members would debate motions relating to Olympics and Paralympics funding, the Forensic Science Service, transport and the economy, and the Rio Plus Summit, Sir George said.

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