Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Live blogging prime minister's questions

I am at home waiting for the man to come to look at my central heating. I think I just need a new timer, but I can't have the fire on in case he does need to look at the back boiler.

While I am waiting I thought I would have a go at live blogging prime minister's questions.

I am promised the gas man will be here some time after noon. Trying to live blog PMQs should ensure that he comes in the middle of it.

Scroll down for my latest comments

The Daily Politics is talking about the Tories plans to reform the BBC. Andrew Neil tactfully says you will probably never have heard of their shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Andrew Neil is by some way the best political interviewer on television. I have never heard Jeremy Paxman get an admission of anything from anyone. Nor have I heard John Humphrys do it on the radio.

But Neil got Michael Gove, who we all assumed came from a humble background, to confirm that his adoptive parents had paid for him to go to one of Scotland's most expensive private schools.

Jeremy Hunt has just shown why you have probably never heard of him.

Now on to the Pope. Not sure if he will be in the studio.

Government is not to press ahead with bringing churches under the same anti-discrimination laws as everyone else. Did we know this already?

Liam Byrne has just said we embrace democratic protest in this country. Andrew Neil points out that the police did all they could to keep demonstrators away from the Chinese head of state when he visited.

Now Richard Madeley is now giving us the benefit of his wisdom on Iraq and WMDs.

Am going to put the kettle on.

Richard Madeley has a certain resemblance to Alan Partridge.

Oh God! "Richard Madeley is going to stay with us."

Guess the year? I make it 1991. You can win a mug!

Two minutes to PMQs.

Tea is good.

Here we go...
PM pays tribute to two more dead soldiers.

Tory David Evennett asks about Gordon Brown's expense claims. Reply "I don't know what he talking about."

Jacqui Smith is still alive! Asks about Tory use of crime statistics.

Brown quotes BBC on falling and stable violence for over a decade.

It's Flashman. Sorry, David Cameron.

Asks about government equipping of British troops in Iraq.

Brown says defence spending has risen every year.

Er, maybe it wasn't spent properly?

Cameron quotes witnesses to Chilcot Inquiry and British troops on lack of equipment.

Brown still going on about overall level of spending. Cameron would have cut defence spending at the last election.

Cameron goes on about Brown's record on defence as Chancellor. Another Chilcot witness is quoted.

Brown goes on with the same line. But there is no virtue in spending for its own sake. Is it effective?

Says last Tory government cut defence by 30 per cent.Given Cold War was over, that sounds sensible.

Jamie Reed wants planning law loosened to allow more nuclear power stations.

Gordon Brown makes a joke! "It is eight minutes past twelve. I understand current Tory policy is..."

It's Nick Clegg!

Asks about spending on Trident. Shouldn't it be part of the defence review.

Brown: We are multilateralists. Unsafe and insecure world.

Nick includes Tories among fans of Trident. Do we need a weapon that can flatten Moscow at the touch of a button.

Brown being noticeably nicer to Nick.

It seems we have to spend a fortune on Trident so we can give it up as part of multilateral agreement at some distant date.

Brown now defends equipment of troops in Iraq, which Nick mentioned in passing.

Scottish MP asks planted question on education spending.

Brown attacks Scottish government.

David Cameron has three more questions.

Asks why Brown is changing voting system so late in the day.

Apparently AV will make the public trust parliament again. Yeah, right.

Not impressive from Brown.

Cameron: "He talks about the hereditary principle. There is only one person in this house who inherited his title." Ouch.

Asks same question. Brown replies with rehearsed answer on Tory policy failings.

Cameron quotes Paddy Ashdown diaries. Blair wanted PR. "But I can't get it past Gordon."

Speaker steps in. He is dressed just like the more traditional masters at Hemel Hempstead School c.1971.

Brown is obsessed with hereditary principle. Not sure the public will care as much about this as he thinks.

Sir Stuart Bell asks on restoring public faith in politics. First step would be for the Commons to find a better public face than Stuart Bell.

Next up, my MP. Edward Garnier, for it is he, asks about defence chiefs' threat to resign.

Brown repeats earlier answer.

Robert Flello asks PM to support Royal British Legion. He agrees to do so.

John Hemming asks on buses in Birmingham. We want same system as in London.

Brown a little cutting. Was that the best subject for a question?

Another planted question from Scottish Labour MP. Are they all toadies?

John Hayes tries to be clever.


David Borrow asks on apprenticeships in South Ribble. Brown has dig at Tory policy being unclear and backs apprenticeships.

Crispin Blunt tries again on defence. Brown wanted cuts in spending but was prevented by chiefs of staff. Why are the services wrong and Brown right.

Brown again goes on about overall spending. But if it is not working, there is a deeper problem with systems or British foreign policy.

Now an English planted question. A nice change.

My tea has got cold.

Lembit Opik!

Asks about job losses in Montgomeryshire.

Brown respectful, which is more than this blog often is about Lembit.

Now Andrew Miller asks about job losses in his Wirrall constituency.

It has gone very quiet.

No sign of that gas man.

Paul Beresford asks on CJD and blood filtering.

Brown promises to look at the matter and get back to him.

Another planted question. Did not see who asked it because I was looking at a white van drawn up outside. Don't think it is the gas man though.

Graham Stuart says health spending is skewed to Labour-voting areas. That woke them up.

Brown says Labour has doubled spending on health service, which again misses the point.

Brian Jenkins asks about war widows, but it is a planted dig at Tory policy to favour marriage through the tax system.

Mark Prisk has a dig at Peter Mandelson. Why is 90 per cent of his industry fund spent in Labour constituencies?

Brown again beside the point.

Alan Whitehead asks on houses in multiple occupation. Brown again respectful.

And that is it.
Rather dull to be honest, though Andrew Neil called it "lively".

Marks out of 5. Brown 2.5, Cameron 3.5, Clegg 3.

It is noticeable that Brown talks only about overall levels of spending. He seems unable to entertain the idea that you have to look at what effect that spending is having out in the real world. It is Labour centralisation married to Brown's personal obsession with figures.

Where is that gas man?

Andrew Neil points out that Cameron went on defence and on AV, limiting discussion of the economy.

Liam Byrne: Government has not brought forward PR because it could not get a consensus on it. And when did it try?

Byrne says people want AV. Neil asks where the evidence is. Byrne fails to point to any.

Time for a second mug of tea.

They are now showing a document released under Freedom of Information legislation. It is totally blacked out. Liam Byrne defends this.

Richard Madeley has gone and I have a second mug of tea. Life is good.

The Daily Politics is now taking about a defence green paper.

Now Ming Campbell is on with General Mike Jackson (who has had his eyes done).

Ming was on an advisory panel that helped produce the green paper. Did we know that?

Sensible view from Ming. What sort of world will it be? What sort of country do we want to be? Only when you have answered those can you decide your defence spending levels and priorities.

Andrew Neil says you can never foresee the next war. So how can we plan?

Ming defends green paper - obviously invested in it. But he also backs Nick Clegg on Trident.

Nick Clegg has asked Ming to do a review on Trident options. We did know that.

That tea got cold quickly. No heating, you see.

Meals on wheels are here for the old people's flats next door. Maybe they could spare one for me?

Last defence review in 1998 made assumptions, and then Blair trashed all the planning by fighting lots of wars.

Jeremy Thing the Tory culture man wants aircraft carriers. Perhaps they could stage operas when there is no war.

The General does not like bean counting. Just give him lots of expensive machines that go Bang!

The Daily Politics is ending, so it is goodbye from me too.


crewegwyn said...

Loved your comment re Stuart Bell.

On the nail.

Niles said...


[The blog reading public applaud]