Live: Battle over US budget

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  1. 1306: Well, that's it for our live coverage for today. Thank you very much for keeping us company - we'll be back again next week for another installment. Will health be on the agenda then too - and will the Flashman thing rear its head once more? Join us to find out.
  2. 1304: Times columnist and former Conservative MP Matthew Parris says he thinks John - now Lord - Reid would be the man for the job, given his success with the No to AV campaign. "He could become the Doctor No of British referendums," he adds.
  3. 1303: Daily Politics moves on to asking about the issue of Scottish independence and Lord Falconer is asked whether Gordon Brown would be the man to lead the No campaign. After a considerable pause and a "WellÂ…er, no", the Blairite says, with a stutter or two: "I think Gordon might feel that pastures new are what's required."
  4. 1256: Lord Falconer disagrees wholeheartedly, saying deeper cuts would leader to even further economy stagnation. He says Mr Moulton's ideas would "kill off" all growth. Mr Willetts says he disagrees that sectors like health and education don't generate any growth or contribute to the economy, but insists the government will stick to its course on cuts.1256 Too far and too fast has become a commonly heard phrase, but venture capitalist John Moulton tells the Daily Politics he wants the government to cut the size of the state much further and faster. "Civil servants don't generate growth in the economy, he says, "We are going to get weak growth as long as we have a large state."
  5. 1259: Lord Falconer disagrees wholeheartedly, saying deeper cuts would leader to even further economy stagnation. He says Mr Moulton's ideas would "kill off" all growth. Mr Willetts says he disagrees that sectors like health and education don't generate any growth or contribute to the economy, but insists the government will stick to its course on cuts.
  6. 1244: Fraser Nelson, of the Tory-supporting Spectator magazine, says David Cameron has been a success largely because he picked up where Tony Blair left off with public service reform.
  7. 1241: David Willetts accuses Mr Miliband of being "pedestrian" and not having any big policies of his own. The universities minister says he isn't rising to the challenge as a leader of the opposition like David Cameron did when he was in the same position.
  8. 1238: That's it for prime minister's questions in the Commons. Back on the Daily Politics, Lord Falconer likes how Ed Miliband did and says his earlier remark the Lib Dems becoming "irrelevant" was born out when David Cameron said it was "his party" not "this government" that could be trusted on the NHS.
  9. 1234: Mr Cameron is asked by William McCrea, of the DUP, about enshrining the military covenant in law. He says he does want to see a covenant "clearly set out" and "referenced in law". He lists a number of other efforts the government has made in the last year to help the armed forces and their families.
  10. 1233: Sheila Gilmore, Labour, attacks the government's work programme results in Scotland - and asks if the Big Society doesn't apply there. Mr Cameron says he thinks there might be more success than she has suggested.
  11. 1232: Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods tweets: "Lib Dems v glum at pmqs. Appalling election results haven't stopped them backing Tory line here. No questions from them yet on NHS."
  12. 1231: A question from MP Richard Bacon on the NHS IT system. Mr Cameron says the government is very concerned about the system it inherited from Labour and has made efforts to save money in the way it is being implemented. He says no new contracts will be signed until ongoing reviews have been completed and all other options have been investigated.
  13. 1231: Ed Staite says: "Lib Dems: a party without ideas or principles."
  14. 1230: DJT writes: "The "Flashman" riposte will stick. It will now haunt Cameron for the rest of his tenure." Have Your Say
  15. 1229: Following a question about a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Mr Cameron takes a dig at the "turgid document" that he says was the last Labour general election manifesto - he says Labour MPs might want to have a word with the man who wrote it. That man, of course, was Ed Miliband.
  16. 1229: A question about possible Scottish independence. Mr Cameron says he wants politicians of all parties to make "an optimistic and uplifting case" to the people of Scotland to encourage them to stay part of the United Kingdom. He says he doesn't think threatening them with the claim that small countries cant make it on their own will help.
  17. 1228: Mr Cameron is asked to guarantee that the UK wont contribute any more money to bail-outs of struggling EU countries. He says he doesn't support the mechanism which requires the UK to do that and he'll do all he can to protect this country's finances.
  18. 1227: Andy Kinsey tweets: "Lib Dems must be uncomfortable being told by the PM that they can't be trusted on the NHS. Not sure Cameron cares."
  19. 1226: "One of the planks of the good ship Balls has a hole below the water line," says the PM, attacking the shadow chancellor's record on the economy.
  20. 1225: Another soft one, this time from Robert Halfon, who says he thinks the government is like Robin Hood, taking money from the rich to give to the poor. The PM, naturally agrees. The next question is tougher, about cuts to London emergency services, but Mr Cameron says the government is protecting NHS spending.
  21. 1225: Cathy tweets: "Peter Hain is so Orange that he should be sitting next to the LibDems."
  22. 1224: Labour MP Tom Watson asks Mr Cameron about the phone hacking scandal and demands a judicial review. The PM says he thinks that would get in the way of the police investigation which must be allowed to go ahead.
  23. 1223: Gael tweets: "Peter Hain is so Orange that he should be sitting next to the LibDems."
  24. 1223: Alex tweets: "Dunno how many #PMQs there've been in the last year but it still makes me feel deeply uneasy to see A Lib Dem leader sitting next to a Tory."
  25. 1222: An easy question from Conservative Daniel Kawczynski. He asks the PM to praise the cost-cutting done by the local council in Shropshire - which Mr Cameron duly does.
  26. The BBC's Ross Hawkins:: BBC's Ross Hawkins:After their election battles Nick Clegg is back in his PMQs seat beside David Cameron, and nodding thoughtfully as the PM speaks. Big contrast with the head-shaking we saw when the PM was singing the praises of first past the post voting.
  27. 1221: Wayne David, Labour, asks about the Barnett formula - the way in which money is allocated to Wales and Scotland. Mr Cameron says he is looking at it, but also takes a dig at Labour's failure to get a majority in the Welsh Assembly.
  28. 1220: David Bale writes: "It seems to me, that this battle or vitriol between the coalition partners will continue until such time that either or both together - concentrate on getting the Nation back to work and reducing unemployment." Have Your Say
  29. 1219: Former home secretary Alan Johnson asks about the banning of the Islamist group, Hiz-but tahrir. Mr Cameron says he'd like to see action taken against them.
  30. 1218: Lib Dem Bob Russell asks the prime minister about millionnaires increasing their wealth at a time when so many people are suffering economic hardship. Mr Cameron says he is cracking down on tax evasion.
  31. 1217: Elfyn Llwyd, from Plaid, asks the PM to join him in a meeting about the problem of cyber stalking. Mr Cameron agrees cyber crime is a huge problem and is happy to take part in the meeting.
  32. 1216: BBC Political Correspondent Ross Hawkins: There's been no mention of the Bank of England's growth and inflation forecasts yet, which will surprise some
  33. 1215: "It confirms what you always knew about the Tories, you can't trust them on the NHS," says Mr Miliband. Mr Cameron's retort is that there's only one party that can be trusted on the NHS - "and that's the one I lead". But what about the Lib Dems?
  34. 0000: Mr Miliband looks unimpressed with Mr Cameron's jibes. He continues with his health attack - saying the government's listening exercise on concerns about the reform bill is just a "sham". 0000 Nikki writes: "How convenient that they waited until AFTER the vote on the NHS reforms to start being more 'aggressive' against the conservatives." Have Your Say
  35. 1213: Mr Miliband looks unimpressed with Mr Cameron's jibes. He continues with his health attack - saying the government's listening exercise on concerns about the reform bill is just a "sham".
  36. 1211: "Flashman is back", says Mr Miliband, after Mr Cameron hit out at him again over waiting times. The PM says he admits some of his cultural references, "Michael Winner, Benny Hill", are a bit out of date, but Labour's claim of a massive fight-back in Scotland, only to lose in to the SNP, reminds him of Eddie the Eagle.
  37. 0000: David Bale writes: "It seems to me, that this battle or vitriol between the coalition partners will continue until such time that either or both together - concentrate on getting the Nation back to work and reducing unemployment." Have Your Say
  38. 1210: BBC Political Correspondent Ross Hawkins: Ed Miliband is accusing David Cameron of spinning against his own ministers - an allegation often made against Gordon Brown under the last government.
  39. 1209: Mr Miliband says Mr Cameron is "dumping" bad policies on other people in the cabinet, rather than taking responsibility himself. Cut to Mr Clegg's face and a big sarcastic grin.
  40. 1208: BBC Political Correspondent Ross Hawkins: Ed Miliband trips up the PM with a line about doctor training but both sides saw this coming and have some well prepared lines, with David Cameron accusing Labour's leader of getting his facts wrong.
  41. 1207: Mr Miliband gets a big cheer by replying that it "takes seven years to train a doctor" so he'd like to thank the PM for his congratulations on that rise. The Labour leader says waiting times are rising and accuses Mr Cameron of being the architect of the controversial NHS reform plans, not the health secretary.
  42. 0000: jz888 writes: "I am afraid the damage is done already. Nick Clegg chose to ignore what the voters were saying to him and told his party to "hold their nerves". As a result, he lost confidence and most importantly trust of his voters. Once the trust is gone, it is very difficult to get it back. I think Lib Dems will never be the same party again." Have Your Say
  43. 1205: Ed Miliband also pays tribute to David Cairns and then for his first question asks the PM to sum up how he thinks the governemnt is doing on the NHS. Mr Cameron says more money is being pumped in and the number of doctors is on the rise.
  44. 1204: Conservative Philip Hollobone asks about the controversial issue of votes for prisoners and whether the UK will bow to the EU in granting them. Mr Cameron says he is still opposed to such a move, but the UK will have to consider how to respond given the EU's position.
  45. 1202: And we're off. David Cameron begins with a tribute to Labour MP David Cairns, who died this week after a long illness.
  46. 1201: The Spectator's Fraser Nelson tells the Daily Politics we should watch out for Nick Clegg's face during PMQs. He says we should expect to see some grimaces, a change from the "nodding dog", he's been in the past year. He also agrees that David Cameron will be trying to "tone down his inner Flashman" because there's "a whiff of the public school bully about him".\r
  47. 1200: Over in the Commons, the seats are filling up while the Secretary of State for Wales is finishing up taking questions from MPs.
  48. 1158: Former Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer tells the Daily Politics he thinks the Lib Dems "will fade as an object of interest and the real battle will be on the economy between Labour and the Conservatives". He says that in the public's view, "the Tories are engaged on the economy", but the Liberal Democrats are only interested in "a strange programme of constitutional reform".
  49. 1152: Tim Farron, Lib Dem chairman, tells the Daily Politics that Nick Clegg's "muscular liberalism" means speaking more loudly "about what we're doing in government, and without being unkind, what we have stopped the Conservatives doing".
  50. 1150: Ahead of PMQs itself, David Cameron's spokesman has reacted to Mervyn King's warning about economic growth. He quoted a speech given by the PM in Davos in January at which he said the "recovery was always going to be a choppy one".
  51. 1147: There are suggestions around this morning that David Cameron's aides have urged him to be "more prime ministerial" and "less aggressive" at PMQs - amid fears that a caricature of him as Flashman, the bully in Tom Brown's Schooldays, is gaining some traction. In recent weeks of course, we've had the "Calm down dear" row, a reference to a Benny Hill song and the PM's attack on Ed Balls as "the most annoying man in British politics".
  52. 1141: "Vince and I are, for all practical purposes, interchangeable," says Mr Willetts, about his boss, the business secretary. But is that a sentiment Mr Cable or Mr Clegg - given their desire to make the Lib Dem voice in coalition louder - would agree with?
  53. 1138: "There was never any intention that rich people would be able to pay to go to universities," David Willetts says. He says he understands why the headlines on Tuesday morning might have "caused people concern" and it was "frustrating" to have to defuse the row. But he refuses to say why he did not make an outright denial of the policy idea.
  54. 1134: Health could come up as well - Nick Clegg promised at the weekend to scupper the government's plans to overhaul the NHS unless significant changes were made to the legislation. Will Labour leader Ed Miliband use this to try to capitalise on tensions within the coalition following the Lib Dems' electoral kicking last week?
  55. 1133: We'll be bringing you snippets from BBC 2's Daily Politics, where Universities Minister David Willetts and Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer will be the guests. Mr Willetts might find himself the subject of discussions in the Commons itself too. He was at the centre of a row yesterday about tuition fees and whether wealthy British families would be able to pay more to secure their children a place at a university of their choice.
  56. 1129: The economy is also likely to be an issue following a fairly downbeat speech in the last hour or so by the Bank of England governor. Mervyn King downgraded the UK's growth forecast for the next two years and warned that the cost of living would continue to rise - largely due to fuel price inflation.
  57. 1128: Hello and welcome to our coverage of this week's Prime Minister's Questions. It's the first since the local and national elections and the AV referendum, so it'd be a surprise if there weren't any questions relating to the fall-out from those results. It's also the coalition's first birthday - but will there be many happy returns in the Commons?

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Key points

  1. Prime Minister David Cameron faces his weekly grilling from Labour leader Ed Miliband and backbench MPs in the House of Commons
  2. Live page reporter: Victoria King

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