In full: David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions

Key Points

  • David Cameron and Ed Miliband debated the UK's future role in the Syrian crisis
  • Labour MPs said living standards were falling, while Conservatives said the economy was improving
  • The government defended the work of the UK Border Force, following a critical report
  1.  
  2.  
    1130:

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the first Prime Minister's Questions since the summer break. It will be the first time David Cameron and Ed Miliband have faced each other since the government's motion calling in principle for action in Syria was defeated last week. Expect the subject to feature during exchanges.

     
  3.  
    1133:

    What else might come up today? It would be a surprise if Mr Miliband did not make mention of a report out today by the left-of-centre Resolution Foundation think-tank, suggesting 4.8 million people in the UK are earning below the "living wage". It segues nicely into Labour's critique of the coalition over living standards, with an opposition debate scheduled for this afternoon. But the coalition says its actions to take the lowest earners out of having to pay income tax are paying dividends.

     
  4.  
    1136:

    Mr Miliband might also go on the Local Government Association's findings that almost half of England's school districts will have a shortage of primary pupil places with two years.

     
  5.  
    1137:

    Mr Cameron will probably be itching to make mention of the GMB union's decision to cut its donation to Labour. Expect that - and Labour's general union links - to be a recurring issue in the Commons.

     
  6.  
    1139:

    Before the main action gets under way, Cabinet Office Questions is taking place. There are several inquiries about the National Citizen Service, as well as some about the government's efforts to help small and medium-sized businesses.

     
  7.  
    1142:

    Which backbenchers are on the official list of those most likely to be granted a question to Mr Cameron? Tories Christopher Pincher and Daniel Kawcynski and Alun Cairns are atop. Conservative Caroline Dinenage, daughter of the legendary regional newsreader (and sometime children's TV host) Fred Dinenage, is listed fourth.

     
  8.  
    1142:

    Interestingly, Jesse Norman, the Conservative MP who is leaving the party's policy board as a result of abstaining over Syria last week, is sixth on the list of MPs likely to get in a question today.

     
  9.  
    1144:

    On BBC Two's Daily Politics, Labour's shadow leader of the Commons, Angela Eagle, says she has "never been so bored in my job" that she has tried to access pornography while in the Palace of Westminster, following revelations that several thousand online requests were made last year. Conservative MP and former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell says such behaviour is a "waste of taxpayers' money".

     
  10.  
    1145:

    On Daily Politics Labour's Angela Eagle says the UK economy needs a "reboot" to ensure that recent upgrades in growth forecasts become more entrenched.

     
  11.  
    1146:

    Tory Andrew Mitchell says the economy is not heading for a boom and bust situation.

     
  12.  
    1148:

    Labour's Angela Eagle tells Daily Politics it is the "absolute right" of the GMB union to reduce its funding for Labour, but insists the party can attract new members from among those taken off the block affiliation list.

     
  13.  
    1149:

    Labour's Angela Eagle vows to go out and talk to GMB members to enthuse them.

     
  14.  
    1151:

    Conservative Andrew Mitchell says he does not know how many members his party has. There has been a "widespread trend" of declining memberships across parties in the UK and elsewhere, he tells Daily Politics.

     
  15.  
    1153:

    Lib Dem Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne says there are not as many members of his party as "I would like".

     
  16.  
    1154:

    On Syria, Tory Andrew Mitchell - a former International Development Secretary - says it is a "rapidly moving situation" and that Parliament "should at least reserve the situation that we could have another vote".

     
  17.  
    1156:

    Just a few minutes to go until Prime Minister's Questions starts, The House is pretty full as Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude answers questions. David Cameron is already in his seat.

     
  18.  
    1158:

    Ed Miliband takes sip of water as he prepares to begin his dialogue with the PM.

     
  19.  
    1200:

    William Hague and George Osborne share a joke or humorous tale as they wait for the session to begin.

     
  20.  
    1201:

    The first Prime Minister's Questions session of the autumn is under way.

     
  21.  
    1202:

    The PM sends the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge congratulations on the birth of Prince George over the summer.

     
  22.  
    1202:

    Tory Christopher Pincher is first up. He asks about the "spate of good economic news" in recent weeks. Mr Cameron says this is an "important point".

     
  23.  
    1204:

    Ed Miliband rises to a wall of noise, including what sounds like sarcastic cheering from the government benches. He reiterates the PM's congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

     
  24.  
    1204:

    Mr Miliband asks the PM to urge at the G20 summit as much humanitarian help as possible for the people of Syria. Mr Cameron says he will do everything he can to get donor countries to help.

     
  25.  
    1206:

    The Labour leader asks what specific support the UK can give to the neighbouring countries affected by an influx of Syrian refugees. The PM says there has to be a solution to the Syrian crisis, including a peace process.

     
  26.  
    1207:

    Mr Miliband says he shares Mr Cameron's "revulsion" at chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government and asks what the UK's role in the Geneva talks will be. The PM says there will not be a peace process until President Assad realises his regime is under "some sort of pressure".

     
  27.  
    1209:

    The Labour leader says there is "no difference" between the parties on the need to stand up for the people of Syria. This provokes critical comments from Tory backbenchers. Mr Cameron says the UK should use its "diplomatic muscle" to help persuade Russia and others supporting the Assad government to back peace talks. But it is more important to persuade Syrian rebels themselves, and Assad, he adds.

     
  28.  
    1209:

    The UK must not "in any degree give up our utter revulsion" over chemical attacks, Mr Cameron says.

     
  29.  
    1211:

    Mr Miliband asks what the government thinks about Iran - an ally of Assad - participating in the Geneva talks. Mr Cameron replies again that the work done with those within Syria is of paramount importance.

     
  30.  
    1213:

    Mr Miliband says last week's vote on Syria was not about the UK "shirking its global responsibility" but about "preventing a rush to war". The PM says his only regret was that Labour had decided last week to "divide the House on a vote that could have led to a vote" on further action. That ends the two leaders' exchanges for the week.

     
  31.  
    1215:

    Former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says the recent change of government in Iran means it will be easier to deal with the country and to try to get it to help with resolving the Syrian crisis. Mr Cameron says such discussions must be entered "very, very carefully".

     
  32.  
    1216:

    Tory MP Daniel Kawcynski is told that the employment situation is improving.

     
  33.  
    1216:

    Tory MP Alun Cairns says 4% of people think Elvis is still alive. He adds that this is twice the percentage who view Ed Miliband as a natural leader. The PM jokes that he wants to see a series of such polls before making further comment.

     
  34.  
    1216:

    In response to a question from Margaret Beckett on the lobbying bill, Mr Cameron says Labour is opposing lobbying changes as it doesn't want unions "brought within the law" on election funding.

     
  35.  
    1220:

    Tory David Rutley asks a supoortive question on the government's efforts to reduce worklessness, Mr Cameron says people should be proud of the welfare reforms brought in by the coalition.

     
  36.  
    1222:

    Labour's Dame Joan Ruddock says a US strike on Syria would "squander" the possibility of changes brought by the new government in Iran. Mr Cameron says President Obama set a "red line" on chemical weapons use and to step away from it would be "perilous".

     
  37.  
    1224:

    Tory Jesse Norman - who was removed from the party's policy board today after abstaining in last week's vote on Syria - says cancer treatment funding discriminates against rural areas. Mr Cameron says NHS England is looking at a fairer funding formula.

     
  38.  
    1224:

    Neil Parish, a Tory MP, says coalition policies have encouraged business. The PM replies that the "good news" on the economy is due to "tough decisions" by the government.

     
  39.  
    1225:

    Asked by a Labour MP about funding for free childcare places disadvantaged two-year-olds, Mr Cameron says it is in place.

     
  40.  
    1225:

    Mr Cameron urges Labour to "admit" it was wrong on the economy, to jeers and cheers, depending on party.

     
  41.  
    1226:

    Conservative Geoffrey Clifton-Brown praises the government's handling of the economy and criticises Labour's. So does Mr Cameron.

     
  42.  
    1227:

    Labour's Stephen Doughty says living standards are falling under the coalition. Mr Cameron argues that Labour's only plan is to borrow and spend more public money.

     
  43.  
    1229:

    The Leader of the House, Sir Peter Tapsell, asks that if the US "illegally" bombs Syria and Russia is asked in by President Assad to "degrade the rebels", what would Nato do? Mr Cameron says the UK would not support illegal action. But he argues that if no action is taken following President Obama's "red line", it would raise questions over what sort of "Armageddon" President Assad will bring.

     
  44.  
    1230:

    A Labour MP asks about the "bedroom tax". Mr Cameron, in turn, asks the Labour benches if they will stop opposing the "spare room subsidy". Just nod for yes, he says as he stares at Ed Miliband and his front bench colleagues. After getting no response he says the Labour leader has nothing to say.

     
  45.  
    1232:

    Labour's Barbara Keeley says school uniform costs are spiralling, leading to more profits for payday loans companies. Mr Cameron says it is good for schools to have "robust" uniform policies.

     
  46.  
    1233:

    Tory Julian Lewis attacks the Lib Dems over demands to look at "alternatives" to Trident. He urges the signing of new contracts to avoid "blackmailing". The PM agrees that a Conservative-only government after the next election will deliver a permanent at-sea nuclear deterrent.

     
  47.  
    1233:

    Labour's John Mann asks if it is true that real wages have fallen by £1,500 a year in Mr Cameron's time in power. The PM says this is "like the arsonist blaming the firefighter" for the situation.

     
  48.  
    1234:

    Labour's Gordon Birtwistle praises businesses in Burnley. Mr Cameron does likewise. That ends PMQs for this week.

     
  49.  
    1237:

    The Commons has now moved on to an urgent question from Labour about the National Audit Office report on the performance of the UK Border Force.

     
  50.  
    1238:

    Immigration minister Mark Harper is replying to the border force questions. He says that the performance of the border force has improved since the government took over from the last Labour government.

     
  51.  
    1240:

    The NAO report said there was a culture of fear among some staff but Mr Harper said on his visits he had met a committed and skilled workforce. He said the border force was meeting its targets.

     
  52.  
    1241:

    Labour's Yvette Cooper replies by calling Mr Harper's statement "very complacent". She lists a string of criticisms of the border force from the National Audit Office report including the drop in checks for stowaways in Calais. She says that the government has tried to stop catching illegal immigrants.

     
  53.  
    1243:

    On Daily Politics, Labour's Angela Eagle says her party's policy is not to "put faith in Iran", but dialogue must be encouraged.

     
  54.  
    1243:

    Tory MP Andrew Mitchell says it is right to allow Iran to show "if it has turned a page", but this must be tested by looking at actual policies, rather than rhetoric.

     
  55.  
    1245:

    Immigration minister Mark Harper responds to criticism from Labour's Yvette Cooper about relying on a "man with a van" with an ad on to get rid of illegal immigrants. He tells MPs the public supports the van campaign and the government's stance on immigration.

     
  56.  
    1247:

    On Daily Politics, BBC political editor Nick Robinson says the tone at PMQs was "extraordinary", as the PM was defeated on the Syria vote last week. He says Ed Miliband felt the need to "advertise" his agreed attitude towards Assad while his questions did not feel like the "most pressing".

     
  57.  
    1248:

    BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson says that, if the US takes action in Syria, UK politicians will be "spectators". If there is a "phase two", leading to more talk of military action, the debate cannot end at this stage.

     
  58.  
    1250:

    In the Commons, Home Office minister Mark Harper says the issue of long queues at border controls - the cause of much concern ahead of last summer's London Olympics - has rescinded.

     
  59.  
    1252:

    Tory Nicola Blackwood says the most important objective is to ensure security at borders. Mr Harper says the government is getting the level of manning right.

     
  60.  
    1254:

    Labour's David Winnick criticises Home Secretary Theresa May for not attending and addressing the House. Mr Harper replies that, as immigration minister, it is right for him to do so.

     
  61.  
    1259:

    Tory Mark Reckless says flexibility at border points is sensible - with checks guided by intelligence regarding risks and the number of people passing through. Mr Harper agrees.

     
  62.  
    1301:

    Immigration minister Mark Harper says the Border Force has made improvements and he is grateful for its efforts.

     
  63.  
    1304:

    Labour's Geoffrey Robinson says his home city of Coventry has become a "massive centre" for the illegal trafficking of cigarettes. Mr Harper says the UK is doing a good job on intercepting them.

     
  64.  
    1308:

    The Border Force is running ahead of plans for number of interceptions of would-be illegal immigrants, Mark Harper tells MPs.

     
  65.  
    1309:

    SNP MP Pete Wishart urges the Home Office not to introduce in Scotland the "xenophobic go-home vans", urging illegal immigrants to leave. Mr Harper says he will not apologise for taking a "robust" stance.

     
  66.  
    1318:

    That ends our coverage of Prime Minister's Questions and the debate on the role of the UK Border Force. The highlights and the full PMQs session will be added to this page shortly. You can continue following proceedings in the House of Commons on the BBC Parliament channel and on Democracy Live.

     

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