UK Politics

Prime Minister's Questions in full: David Cameron v Miliband

Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband have agreed that hopes of a "two-state solution" in the Middle East were "dwindling".

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Miliband urged Mr Cameron to put more pressure on the United Nations and US to help the peace process.

But Mr Cameron said that the Israelis and Palestinians themselves had to lead efforts for peace.

There were air strikes on Gaza and a bomb in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Mr Miliband and Mr Cameron agreed on the need for a ceasefire, with the Labour leader saying: "This week has shown us once again that there is neither peace, nor a peace process.

"The reality is that the international community does bear some responsibility for the abject failure of having those meaningful negotiations, nine years on from the promise of the road map for peace."

Mr Miliband said "confidence in a two-state solution is dwindling month by month" and he urged the UN General Assembly to take its opportunity to support the process by backing "enhanced observer status" for the Palestinian Authority.

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Media captionDavid Cameron: 'This could be last chance for peace'

That would, Mr Miliband said, "strengthen the moderate voices among the Palestinians who want to pursue the path of politics and not the path of violence".

During their weekly question time clash, the prime minister agreed confidence was "dwindling that there is time left for a two-state solution".

He said: "That is why there is such a sense of urgency among the international community; this could be the last chance for peace because the facts on the ground are changing.

"I think, frankly, it's so much in Israel's interests now to push for the two-state solution so we should keep up the pressure."

Mr Cameron however spoke against the idea of greater recognition at the UN: "It is our view that the Palestinians should not take this to the UN in the short term and we've urged them not to do that.

"Clearly if they do so we will have to consider the right way to vote. But in the end the point is this: we will not solve this problem at the United Nations.

"This problem will be solved by Israelis and Palestinians sitting down and negotiating. There may indeed be dangers from pushing it too early at the UN in terms of a cut-off of funds for the Palestinian Authority and all the consequences that could follow.

"So in the end let's get negotiations going rather than discussions at the UN."

'Out of touch'

In other exchanges, Mr Cameron defended the government's record on health care.

Mr Miliband told the Commons that the number of nurses was down by 7,000 since the coalition had come to power.

He accused the prime minister of being "out of touch", adding that the people of Corby had spoken for the "whole nation" in voting for a Labour winner of last week's by-election in the previously Tory-held constituency.

Mr Cameron replied that frontline NHS staff numbers in England were rising, but pointed out that they were falling in the Labour-run NHS in Wales.

To laughter, he added that the people of Humberside had spoken for the "whole country" in not choosing former Labour Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott as a police and crime commissioner.

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Media captionDavid Cameron told the Commons the Church of England needed "a sharp prod"

Labour MP Tristram Hunt said the spending of £100m on the commissioner contests in England and Wales, in which turnout was around 15%, was "farcical".

Mr Cameron dismissed the criticism, arguing that the change would make policing more accountable.

Another Labour MP, Rochdale's Simon Danczuk, asked the prime minister for a full police investigation into allegations that the town's former MP, the late Cyril Smith, had been involved in child abuse.

Mr Cameron replied that Greater Manchester Police had opened an investigation into allegations "from 1974 onwards".

Tory Sir Tony Baldry said it was disappointing that the Church of Synod had decided on Tuesday not to bring in female bishops.

Mr Cameron said he was himself a "strong supporter" of such a change.

It was the first time the Prime Minister had faced MPs since last week's police commissioner elections.