As it happened: PM questions

Key points

  • Prime Minister David Cameron faces his weekly grilling from Labour leader Ed Miliband and backbench MPs
  1.  
    1159:

    Hello and welcome to our coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. The MPs are back after a rather stuttering summer break, interrupted when Parliament was recalled for an emergency debate on the riots. And this session only lasts two weeks, before they head off again for the party conference season. So Ed Miliband will want to make the most of his limited opportunities to get under David Cameron's skin.

     
  2.  
    1204:

    David Cameron is on his feet. He pays tribute to those killed in Afghanistan over the summer.

     
  3.  
    1204:

    Labour's Ian Austin asks about terror legislation, saying the coalition is weakening protection for the public. Mr Cameron responds that control orders - brought in by Labour - did not have public confidence - and their replacements will be more effective.

     
  4.  
    1205:

    Asked about the NHS reforms, which will be debated later, Mr Cameron says they will lead to a stronger service.

     
  5.  
    1205:

    Ed Miliband also pays tribute to service personnel killed in Afghanistan.

     
  6.  
    1205:

    Mr Miliband joins the PM in remembering the victims of the terror attacks on 11 September 2001.

     
  7.  
    1206:

    The Labour leader's first question is on the election of local police commissioners, asking how much this will cost. The PM says the cost is \u00a325m, which will not come from the main police budget.

     
  8.  
    1207:

    Mr Cameron says elections for police commissioners will not be "bad policy".

     
  9.  
    1208:

    Mr Miliband replies that the elections are the "wrong priority for the country".

     
  10.  
    1208:

    The labour leader says elected commissioners will be a waste of money, which could be spent on 2,000 extra officers.

     
  11.  
    1208:

    The PM says Mr Miliband has got his figures wrong, adding that he is "frightened" of elections.

     
  12.  
    1209:

    Switching topics, the Labour leader says the PM also has the "wrong priorities" over the NHS.

     
  13.  
    1210:

    Mr Cameron says more cancer patients are getting treatments, while NHS bureaucracy is being cut.

     
  14.  
    1210:

    Speaker John Bercow quietens MPs, accusing some of "orchestrated" heckling.

     
  15.  
    1211: Ben Geoghegan BBC Political correspondent

    The first session of PMQs since the summer recess and all the green benches are packed with MPs eager to hear the exchanges and ask their questions. David Cameron admits the election of police commissioner elections will be delayed. Reports this morning suggested this was at the request of the Lib Dems who don't want local elections on the same day.

     
  16.  
    1211:

    Mr Miliband accuses the government chief whip of shouting at him. He adds that the number of people waiting six months for an NHS operation has increased.

     
  17.  
    1211:

    Mr Cameron says the amount of time people are waiting for an outpatient operation is down.

     
  18.  
    1212:

    Labour opposes all reform to the NHS, Mr Cameron says. Mr Miliband replies that the PM is "on another planet".

     
  19.  
    1213:

    Mr Miliband says the government reorganisation of police and the NHS is "reckless" and "needless".

     
  20.  
    1215:

    Mr Cameron - having the final word in his exchange with the Labour leader - says it's interesting that Mr Miliband, in six questions, "doesn't dare mention the economy".

     
  21.  
    1215:

    The PM says health professionals support changes to the NHS.

     
  22.  
    1215:

    It's now the backbenchers' turn to question the PM. Tory Helen Grant asks if building social cohesion is key to cutting crime. Mr Cameron agrees.

     
  23.  
    1216:

    Labour's Jon Ashworth asks if crime and anti-social behaviour will rise or fall after police cuts. The PM says more officers will be on the beat as a result of government policy.

     
  24.  
    1217:

    Tory David Burrowes urges support for the forthcoming Global Day of Prayer and commends the handling of the recent riots.

     
  25.  
    1218:

    Labour's Gloria de Piero asks if the PM supports the closure of local police stations. Mr Cameron again says the government is putting more officers on the streets.

     
  26.  
    1219:

    Mr Cameron gives his support to authorities trying to clear people from the illegal travellers from the Dale Farm site in Essex.

     
  27.  
    1220:

    Mr Cameron says "proper rules" on gun licensing need to be imposed.

     
  28.  
    1223:

    Tory Nadine Dorries - who claims Mr Cameron has caved in to the Lib Dems over her proposed changes to the abortion advice rules due to be debated by MPs later - criticises the Lib Dems. She urges the PM to tell his deputy, Nick Clegg, "who is the boss".

     
  29.  
    1223:

    Mr Cameron starts by replying that he knows Ms Dorries is "extremely frustrated", to howls of laughter. Smiling, he says he is "Going to give up on this one".

     
  30.  
    1224:

    Tory MP John Stephenson asks what the government is doing to promote economic growth. Mr Cameron says cuts in corporation tax, investment in regional funds and the spread of super-fast broadband will help.

     
  31.  
    1224:

    Lib Dem Sir Alan Beith says taxpayers should never have to bail out large banks again. Mr Cameron answers that the government is working hard to reform the sector.

     
  32.  
    1225: Ben Geoghegan BBC Political correspondent

    Ed Miliband went on the attack on two fronts - the election of police commissioners and the health reforms in an attempt to highlight what Labour regard as wasteful reforms. But there'll probably be some surprise in the Chamber that, with the downgrading of growth and the Chancellor's warning last night of a "choppy" recovery, Mr Miliband didn't mention the economy. It was an omission that the prime minister was able to turn to his advantage. Perhaps Ed Miliband was worried Mr Cameron had hidden away a copy of Alistair Darling's memoirs and their embarrassing disclosures about disagreements among the Labour leadership during the banking crisis?

     
  33.  
    1226:

    Labour's Grahame Morris says housing benefit reforms will unfairly affect disabled people. Mr Cameron calls the housing budget "completely out of control".

     
  34.  
    1227:

    Tory Mark Reckless calls for a referendum on membership of the European Union. The PM says he doesn't see the case.

     
  35.  
    1228:

    Conservative Michael Ellis congratulates MPs of all sides for supporting a gift for the Queen for her forthcoming diamond jubilee. The PM does so.

     
  36.  
    1229:

    Labour's Barry Gardner says rising utility bills show it was wrong to cut the winter fuel payment by \u00a3100. Mr Cameron says the government is being more generous than Labour was under Gordon Brown.

     
  37.  
    1232:

    Tory Amber Rudd asks whether the government will lead efforts to tackle the famine in east Africa. Mr Cameron says the UK is doing so.

     
  38.  
    1235:

    Mr Cameron gets behind his housing minister Grant Shapps, after he is mocked for encouraging more people to live on houseboats at a time of housing crisis. House-building is too low and more must take place but Mr Shapps is doing an excellent job, says the PM.

     
  39.  
    1235:

    That ends PMQS for this week. The economy was barely mentioned, despite widespread predictions that it would dominate.

     
  40.  
    1239:

    Let's take a look at what the guests on BBC Two's Daily Politics made of today's session. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the NHS needs reform to bring down waiting times. He accuses Ed Miliband of a "selective" use of statistics during PMQs.

     
  41.  
    1239:

    Labour's Mary Creagh says the NHS has undergone a "huge disruption" under the coalition.

     
  42.  
    1242:

    BBC deputy political editor James Landale says the publication of the memoirs of former Chancellor Alistair Darling - which expose feuding at the top of the previous government during the 2009 banking crisis -makes it harder for Labour to bring up the economy at PMQs.

     
  43.  
    1246:

    Jeremy Hunt dismisses rumblings on the Tory backbenches - about Lib Dem influence over policy in areas such as Europe and abortion - as someting that will happen under any government, whether single-party or coalition.

     
  44.  
    1248:

    That concludes our coverage of Prime Minister's Questions for this week. Please join us again next Wednesday.

     

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