Political Promise

PMQs Live: 9th February

In Charlie Edwards on February 9, 2011 at 11:16 am

For one day only, Charlie Edwards is going to sketch Prime Minister’s Questions for the 9th February live as-it-happens. If you enjoy it, it will become a regular feature. 

11.15: Trembling with excitement for another Cameron/Miliband/Bercow love-fest. Predictions? Cameron’s apparent “u-turn” on support for troops, “Project Merlin” for the banks (getting banks lending again, despite bonus taxes) and the expected news that Oxford University will charge over £25,000 for a degree. Ok, maybe trembling isn’t the right word.

11:45: Questions to the Northern Island Secretary, Owen Paterson in the House of Commons at the moment. PMQs starts at 12 noon.

11:50: House of Commons starting to fill up. You can watch Question Time live: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/tv/bbc_parliament/watchlive

11:55: Have your say. You can Tweet @PP_tweets with your comments, and the best ones will be published.

12:00: Roger Williams (LD, Brecon and Radnorshire) asks the first question on foreign students in UK universities. PM: “Universities are world-class”, 91,000 students came to 600 less-well-known colleges, these are the numbers we should focus on.

12:03: Ed Miliband’s first question: “How is his Big Society going?” PM says the “House is united” over the idea of giving, philanthropy and social action. PM announces Big Society bank has been given £200 million from the banks to pour into the voluntary sector.

12:06: EM turns to Sure Start. Funding cut by 9%, 250 centres set to close, how does that help the Big Society?

12:07: PM says Sure Start funding has been maintained. EM addresses the Local Government Secretary (Eric Pickles) as “detached from reality”, for saying 28% cuts in local budgets won’t affect front-line services.

12:10: On libraries, the “ones that succeed are those that wake up to the new generation of technology and investment”. PM says Ed Miliband is “sniping and jumping on the bandwagon”. EM says “Only the PM could blame the libraries for closing”

12:11: “We are all waiting for Labour’s big idea”. PM says “he has not a single idea on how to make the country a better place”.

12:12: Fascinating exchange today between Mili and Cam. Cameron looks assertive, confident in the message the Big Society sends out, and Miliband again looks like a “blank page”.

12:13: Nick de Bois (Con, Enfield North) commends the work of Headley Court, in Surrey, and how we can support the military trauma and rehabilitation facility. “We must do everything for our brave soldiers”, says PM.

12:18: Jon Woodcock (Lab, Barrow & Furness) questions PM’s conviction on the replacement of Trident, given he reneged on his promise to keep EMA.

12:20 James Clappison (Con, Hertsmere) asks that terrorism suspects should be deported. PM says we need a tougher stance and quicker processes on deportation of criminals.

12:23: David Cairns (Lab, Inverclyde) says Criminal Behaviour Orders and the other “rebrandings” this week makes the PM look soft on crime. PM quips the Labour frontbench is doing its best to rebrand New Labour to “old and irresponsible Labour”.

12:26: PM says we should celebrate “Formula One, a world-beating industry for Britain”, following the death of Tom Walkinshaw.

12:27: John Baron (Con, Basildon & Billericay) says we have to have a new approach in Afghanistan. PM remarks that “this will be another year where the Taliban will suffer.”

12:28: Jim Cunningham (Lab, Coventry South) says pensions have been cut for members of the Armed Forces. PM says he has doubled the operational allowance for those service, introduced pupil premium, and that this government is “very pro our armed services.”

12:29: Ian Swales (LD, Redcar) says all carriers of a knife on the streets do so with the capacity to commit GBH. PM says the previous government did nothing on knife crime, and this matter will be looked at in depth to increase punishments for knife-carriers.

12:32: Ian Austin (Lab, Dudley North, sitting next to the great economic mind of Alan Johnson) quotes the PM on how City regulation should have been relaxed before the crisis, and asks whether there is a link between that quote and the Conservative party donors  from bankers.

John Bercow brings the proceedings to a halt with another patronising “the public don’t like the noise” moan. I am not actually familiat any member of the public with such a grievance, I think it is just him.

Charlie’s Verdict: Cameron was strong today, he was thorough in his answers about the Big Society and the cuts (which have been a major grievance of his tenure so far).

Quick poll:

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