UK Politics

Prime Minister's questions: The Full Story

The key points from PM's questions 15 September, 2010, as reported by Brian Wheeler.

1300 Thanks for joining us for the first of our new-look live coverage of prime minister's questions. You can watch live coverage from the Commons all the time (when it is sitting) on the BBC's Democracy Live site. We'll be back with live coverage of the party conferences, starting next week with the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Do join us for that if you can.

1256 The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg on Twitter: Ming Campbell tells me the govt should be signing the EU directive on trafficking and says he will urge Lib Dem ministers to do so.

1250 David Cameron is picking up some good PM questions reviews on Twitter, although some, such as Sky's Adam Boulton, think MPs will be wondering why he bothered to bring them back from recess earlier than normal for what was, by usual standards, a pretty sleepy session.

1244 Ms Cooper says it is a bit premature, as Nick Robinson has just done, to start talking about her rather than Mr Balls as the next shadow chancellor. She doesn't look too upset though.

1242 Loyal to the end, Ms Cooper says her husband - Ed Balls - ran the best of the Labour leadership campaigns. She refuses to be drawn on speculation that he might come last.

1240 Yvette Cooper, wife of leadership contender Ed Balls, is defending his claim that Labour's deficit reduction plan was too quick. Ms Cooper said "people did talk about it at the time" but refuses to go into details.

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Media captionHousing Minister Grant Shapps and Yvette Cooper, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary give their verdicts on PM's questions on the BBC's Daily Politics.

1238 The Daily Politics panel all agree - one PM questions session a week is quite enough. The viewers agree too but want MPs to behave themselves better. One of them was waving a model of an aircraft carrier around in the chamber at one point during today's session.

1237 Audience emails summarised on Daily Politics vary from criticism of Harriet Harman for sticking to one subject for her six questions, to criticism of David Cameron for referring to the past too much.

1234 When pressed on who he thinks will win Nick Robinson does make a prediction - the next Labour leader will be a "he", he says. Apologies to Diane Abbott, he adds.

1233 The session was a bit of a love-in between Mr Cameron and Mr Harman - but who will Mr Cameron be facing across the despatch box when MPs return in October after the conference season? BBC Political editor Nick Robinson tells Daily Politics it is going to be a mighty close contest.

1231 The final question. Mr Cameron assures DUP MP William McCrae efforts are underway to people who lost money in the Northern Ireland in the financial crisis.

1229 Mr Cameron says he hopes his days on the international lecture circuit are some way off, after being asked what he would lecture about at Harvard - Gordon Brown is visiting the university next week.

1227 Back to the EU directive on human trafficking. Labour's Michael Connarty reminds MPs, at some length, what it means, earning a rebuke from the speaker.

1225 Ex-education minister Vernon Coaker gets Labour MPs fired up by asking about the impact of scrapping Building Schools for the Future on poorer pupils. Mr Cameron attacks the "shambolic" and "disastrous" programme which he claims was mired in red tape.

1222 Bit of a frisson as Labour's Angela Smith asks about a Tory donor, who gave free flights to Mr Cameron, but who she says is registered offshore. Mr Cameron bats it away with a holding answer.

1220 No sign of Punch and Judy politics at the moment. Lib Dem Martin Horwood is asking about recycling schemes.

1219 Conservative MP Priti Patel raises a laugh by asking Mr Cameron if he has had any tips on deficit reduction from Fidel Castro. Mr Cameron says even the Communist Cuban leader is "on the same planet as the rest of us" - apart from Labour.

1217 It's getting back to business as usual, with noise levels rising to the point where the speaker decides he has to step in and tell everyone to pipe down.

1215 Mr Cameron's last words to Ms Harman prompt laughter from across the House as he ribs her about the Labour leadership election, calculating that Ms Harman, as an MP, trade unionist, Labour Party member and a member of the Fabian Society will have four votes. Democracy's a wonderful thing, he concludes with a grin.

1213 By the way, if you want more of Harriet Harman, watch the Daily Politics' montage of her highlights as Labour leader.

1211 It's an unusually laid-back session, as Mr Cameron and Ms Harman trade jokes and compliments about the fact that it is her final appearance at PMQs as Labour leader. MPs are even getting in on the act with pantomime groans when Ms Harman says she wants to ask "just one last question before I go". She asks Mr Cameron if he will bring PMQs back to twice a week. The Conservative PM says making it once a week was "one of the few things Tony Blair did which I approve of".

1208 Ms Harman urges Mr Cameron to sign an EU directive on immigration, which she says will combat trafficking. Mr Cameron is not keen. He says Britain can do what needs to be done without opting into it.

1206 Nice joke from Ms Harman, who thanks Mr Cameron for his fulsome praise of her leadership of Labour and her performances at PMQs, saying she is just grateful she is not wearing a hoodie. (Mr Cameron famously once wanted to hug a hoodie).

1204 Harriet Harman uses her final PMQs as acting Labour leader to raise one of the causes close to her heart - the trafficking of women and children.

1203 Harriet Harman begins with condolences for the soldier killed in Afghanistan and also to Mr Cameron over the death of his father. She congratulates the Camerons on the birth of their daughter. Mr Cameron thanks her for "kind words".

1202 What sounds like a planted question from a Tory MP gives Mr Cameron a chance to attack the trade unions' plans for strike action over cuts - and Labour MPs for backing them.

1200 We're off. David Cameron begins with a tribute to a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

1158 Will Bill Clinton be watching PMQs, wonders Andrew Neil on The Daily Politics. He never missed a session when his pal Tony Blair was in the hot seat, apparently.

1156 David Cameron thinks he has it tough. Bank of England governor Mervyn King has entered the lion's den of the TUC conference in Manchester. Delegates are listening to his speech in total silence.

1154 The commons defence committee has also lobbed a grenade into the debate by warning planned budget cuts could put combat operations at risk.

1152 Cuts could well dominate debate today, with October's spending review looming large in everyone's diary. Iain Duncan Smith has already stirred the pot by telling a select committee this morning that he "didn't recognise" the extra £4bn George Osborne said he was going to chop from the benefits bill.

1150 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of prime minister's questions in the House of Commons. it is the first Commons grilling David Cameron has faced since the summer recess, paternity leave following the birth of his daughter Florence and the death of his father last week. Harriet Harman will be doing the honours for Labour - for the final time before the party elects a new leader. The action gets underway at mid-day.

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