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Live Reporting

Kate Whannel and Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for joining us

    BBC Politics

    We'll close our coverage of PMQs now.

    On the team with you today were Gavin Stamp, Kate Whannel, and Paul Seddon, with Johanna Howitt in the editor's chair.

    Next's PMQs will be the penultimate session before parliament's Christmas break - do join us then.

    For now, thanks for following along with us.

  2. What came up at PMQs?

    BBC Politics

    As we wind down our coverage of this week's Prime Minister's Questions, here's a quick recap of the main points:

    • Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer welcomed the news that the UK's medicines regulator has approved a coronavirus vaccine to be rolled-out within days.
    • The PM said the vaccine will be rolled-out from next week for priority groups, but he warned people "not get their hopes up too soon” about when they will be vaccinated.
    • Keir Starmer asked the PM how the drug will be distributed to care homes, as it needs to be kept in very cold conditions; the PM said the NHS was working as fast as possible.
    • SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford raised the issue of help for self-employed people who do not qualify for government support; Boris Johnson said the government was working hard to get the economy moving again.
    • Mr Johnson stressed the "continuing importance" of the tiering system of restrictions and mass community testing.
    • The PM said the government was working to tackle anti-vaccine disinformation across the internet.
  3. PMQs ends


    And with that, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle brings this week's session to a close.

  4. Final question on Universal Credit increase


    The final question is from the SNP's Drew Hendry.

    He presses the PM on whether the £20 weekly increase in Universal Credit will be extended beyond next April, a decision that the government has yet to commit to.

    If it isn't, he suggests the government will be "throwing millions to the wolves".

    The PM remarks on the extra support available through Universal Credit and repeats the government's commitment to protect lives and livelihoods during tough economic terms.

    As a measure of the UK's success, he says the UK's unemployment rate is lower than France, Spain, Italy, the United States and Canada.

  5. Deprived areas exist outside the red wall says Cornish MP


    Conservative MP for North Cornwall Scott Mann says the media often thinks the government's levelling up agenda only refers to "red wall" seats in the North, despite Cornwall having "pockets of deprivation".

    He seeks confirmation that businesses in Cornwall will be able to access funding schemes aimed at addressing regional inequalities - and also that these schemes will be "less onerous to access" than EU schemes.

    Boris Johnson agrees and says his government is committed to addressing the needs of the people of Cornwall.

  6. Smaller tiers?

    Helen Catt

    Political correspondent

    The Prime Minister's response to Karl McCartney about setting the coronavirus tiers at a more local level hints at one of the potential flash points to come.

    The PM talked about 'reflecting' local situations but having to take into account the national picture.

    Some MPs appear to believe they have been given assurances that smaller areas might be considered when tiers are reviewed in two week's time, but Boris Johnson has so far avoided committing himself to that.

  7. Tory MP asks for local decision-making on tiers


    Conservative Karl McCartney asks the prime minister whether he will allow "decision makers" to "take decisions locally" on which areas are put into each tier in the new regional system.

    Under the current plan, decisions on tier allocations are ultimately made by central government.

    Boris Johnson replies that ministers have decided to design tiers to reflect local infection rates "as closely as we can".

    But he adds the government "must look as the entire national picture" as well.

  8. Labour MP attacks Johnson's record

    Lewell Buck

    Labour's Emma Lewell-Buck notes that is it almost a year since Boris Johnson won the general election - she says during his time in office, the UK has seen the highest Covid death rate in Europe, the worst-performing economy in the G7, failing Brexit negotiations and £1.5bn given to Conservative donors in contracts.

    She asks "which of these achievement is he most proud of".

    The PM begins to reply "I would take her point more seriously if she could be bothered to vote..." but he is interrupted as the Labour MP points out she did vote, rather than abstain, on the new tier system.

    "Ah, she defied the instruction to dither," Mr Johnson says and goes on to attack the Labour leader for abstaining.

  9. Ex-minister asks for 'small business test'


    Former cabinet minister Liam Fox says small business is the lifeblood of his constituency and will be key to the country's recovery from the pandemic.

    He urges the PM to introduce a "small business test" to ensure that all new regulation and legislation passed in the next year or so will facilitate enterprise and entrepreneurship.

    The PM says all new laws currently take business into account and lists the support on offer to business during the pandemic.

  10. Labour MP asks for deal to support aviation


    Labour's Alex Davies-Jones says the aviation industry has been "uniquely impacted" by Covid and some of her constituents in Wales have been "financially ruined" by damage to the sector.

    She asks him to support a "sector-specific" deal to support the sector "before it's too late" .

    In reply, Boris Johnson says the threats to the industry are "global".

    He adds he has "every hope" it will "bounce back strongly" when the economy is "moving again".

  11. Plaid Cymru MP attacks HS2 spending

    Saville Roberts

    Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts says there has been a reduction in the amount Wales receives through transport spend in England from 80.9% 36.6%.

    She asks how much investment he is "funnelling" away from Wales to pay for the "white elephant" HS2 project - "despite not a single inch of the railway being in Wales".

    "I fail to recognise the characterisation," replies Boris Johnson.

    He says next year the Welsh government will receive an additional £1.3m.

    And he adds that the Welsh Labour government spent £144m for plans for an M4 bypass "which they then junked".

  12. SNP's Blackford says millions have been 'abandoned'


    Now it's the turn of SNP Westminster leader Iain Blackford.

    He also welcomes the vaccine approval which he says is "the news we have all been waiting for".

    But he says it has come too late for what he says are the three million people who have "not had a penny of support" during the pandemic from the UK government.

    He says following a recent meeting with campaign group Excluded UK he learnt the "shocking" news that eight people had taken their own lives in the past 10 days.

    In response, the PM says he is sorry to hear this and goes on to talk about the extra funding on offer for mental health support and the increase in Universal Credit.

    Mr Blackford says this is not good enough and the lack of support for self-employed people in the arts and construction has been an "abject failure" and people have been "abandoned".

    The PM rejects this, saying "no-one has been abandoned" and the tiered restrictions approved yesterday would pave the way for the economy to re-open, particularly the retail sector.

  13. Starmer's Afghanistan jibe

    Helen Catt

    Political correspondent

    As expected, Boris Johnson attacks Labour over its decision to abstain on the tier votes.

    Sir Keir Starmer clearly saw this coming; his response takes a swipe at the prime minister himself for missing a vote on Heathrow Airport in 2018

  14. Johnson brands Starmer 'General Indecision'


    The Labour leader says there are "serious questions that need to be answered" about government support for affected sectors.

    He says retailers need "much greater support," and asks the PM to commit to working with unions to deliver this.

    Referencing Sir Keir's decision to tell his MPs to abstain yesterday, the PM says he would "take him more seriously" if he'd "bothered to vote".

    "Captain Hindsight is rising rapidly up the ranks and becoming General Indecision," he quips.

  15. Starmer asks about protection for Arcadia workers


    Turning to the collapse of the Arcadia Group and Debenhams, Sir Keir Starmer says the arrival of the vaccine will come too late for those who have lost their job already.

    "What is he going to do now to protect the jobs and the pensions of all those affected by the closures," he asks.

    Boris Johnson says the business secretary has asked the Insolvency Service to look at conduct of Arcadia company.

    "We will do everything we can to restore the high street," he adds.

    He then attacks the Labour leader for abstaining on a vote to approve England's new Covid tier system.

    "I think it is a bit much that he should attack the economic consequence of coronavirus when neither he or his troops could be bothered to vote for measures that would open up the economy," he says.

  16. Striking a cautious tone

    Helen Catt

    Political correspondent

    There's a cautious tone to today's opening exchanges.

    Keir Starmer focussing on the detail of the delivery of the vaccine; Boris Johnson keen to stress that it is not an immediate silver bullet and that the tier restrictions will need to be observed in the meantime.

  17. Starmer calls for new powers to fine social media firms


    Keir Starmer turns to the issue of public confidence in the vaccine, which he says gives "cause for concern".

    He asks the PM whether he will back Labour calls for new legislation to enable the government to fine social media companies if they don't promptly remove anti-vaccine disinformation.

    Boris Johnson says ministers are already working to combat disinformation online.

    He says more detail will be revealed shortly when the government publishes a paper on "online harms".

  18. Starmer raises vaccine delivery concerns

    Sir Keir Starmer raises concerns that delivery of vaccines into care homes will be difficult due to temperatures at which the vaccine must be stored.

    He asks what plans the PM has put in place to address these issues.

    Boris Johnson says the Labour leader is right to raise the issue as the vaccine needs to be stored at -70 degrees.

    He says his government is working on the problem and adds that it is also important to get the Oxford vaccine ready as it can be more easily stored.

    Our technology reporter Zoe Kleinman looks here at the questions surrounding the cold storage of the vaccine.