PMQs 26th October 2011: As It Happened
It was no ordinary PMQs - it's the week of the 50th anniversary of the regular parliamentary custom, where the prime minister of the day takes questions from MPs.
Shortly after David Cameron is heading off to the EU meetings, where the prospects of a deal to bailout European banks and rescue the Euro are not looking good.
It was first time the PM had been in the Chamber since the massive rebellion by 81 Tory MPs on Monday night over whether to hold a referendum on the UK's future in the EU. However as it happened there was only one probing Tory Eurosceptic question during the session on Wednesday.
Ed Miliband avoided the findings of the leaked report at Number 10, which calls for the rules on sacking workers to be relaxed.
Instead the Labour leader repeatedly pressed the PM on what the official government position was of repatriation of powers from the EU - the Tories seem to want it, the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has poured cold water on it - who's right?
Ed Miliband didn't get any concrete answers on that, but was attacked by David Cameron for previous comments Miliband had made, where he'd been enthusiastic about joining the Euro and leaving the IMF.
All in all, a fairly tame PMQs - but with one feature that everyone can agree is positive; this was the first time in weeks and weeks that the PM didn't start with tributes to service personnel killed in Afghanistan. In the past seven days, this hasn't happened.
Pretty subdued PMQs this week, Labour and Tories each claiming their man won. Lots of planted questions from Tory backbenchers and very few blows landed from Labour.
Maybe the most interesting question from Liberal Democrat Duncan Hames on legal aid. Had an anger to it which tells you a lot about the mental health of the coalition this week.... Slightly tired and emotional!
|@ Politics_co_uk : PMQs surprisingly quiet for a change, Backbench Tory jeering reigned in for a change http://t.co/lPOslFKv #PMQs|
|@ marycreagh_mp : Not sure DC correct to say more money to nursery education for 2 3 and 4 year old. Sure start cut by 20%. Over to @cathynewman fact check|
|@ Spectator_CH : Gloria De Piero's question a perfect example of Labour prodding the Tories' women troubles. Yvette Cooper spearheading this strategy. #pmqs|
PM: Ann Widdecombe is often right.... Not always right.
This in a question about gay rights.
|@ Politics_co_uk : PMQs celebrated its birthday with a tightly fought battle which felt like a score draw http://t.co/lPOslFKv #PMQs|
|@ adamboultonSKY : Comment: EM poured more salt on coalition EU wounds DC sidestepped but Tory backbenchers likedhis robust counterattack on EM's credibility.|
Why do women hate the Tories? This according to a leaked Number 10 report
PM: Household budgets are squeezed, but we're doing lots to help women with young children, and saving women around the world from dying in childbirth through international aid.
|@ DanielFurrUK : RT @lucymanning If PM lost backbenchers on Eur he's winning them back today w strong personal attack on Ed Miliband. Tory MPs shouting more|
|@ AdamDRobins : Sir Peter Tapsell - the nearest thing the commons has to yoda. #PMQs|
Claims cuts to Legal Aid and CAB will be devastating.
PM: we are putting in money to support 3rd sector to offer legal advice, but our legal aid bill is much higher than other comparable countries.
|@ OliverCooper : Cameron hands tied by his Deputy Prime Minister. Miliband tied by his own quote. Given how weak Cameron is this week, that's a DC win. #PMQs|
|@ FactCheck : Regional Growth Fund - we checked this out...they are on track to deliver money but only 2 businesses have got funds at this stage #pmqs|
|@ nigelfletcher : Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee! The sound of the ball going high over the crossbar from Miliband. #PMQs|
|@ MichaelWhite : #PMQs Tory MPs noisy in support of Cam, behaving like a man whose been playing away and now brings the wife flowers and chocs, the rascals|
|@ CallumJonesBlog : Consensus seems to be that Miliband won today's exchange with Cameron, but I'm unconvinced. Both put up a good fight #PMQs|
Claims that just two businesses have been supported by regional growth fund.
PM: no, it's actually forty.
Finishes by saying Cameron has no position on Europe because he is worried about his backbenchers
For a third time demands clarification on the position
PM: Ignores the question again, reiterates his claim that Ed Miliband wants to join the Euro, and adds that Labour would see Britain leaving the IMF as well.
Presses PM on who's in charge over Europe, citing Tory backbenchers who say the policy is inconsistent.
PM: responds saying Ed Miliband would probably have wanted to join the Euro years ago.
Quotes Clegg who has expressly said he opposes any repatriatn of powers. Who is right?
PM: Quotes Ed Miliband from a previous BBC interview as saying he thinks the EU should have more powers . Calls Miliband a 'mug'.
What powers does the PM want to repatriate from Brussels and when?
PM: accuses Miliband of going back to the politics, but dodges the question and says the government has already repatriated powers to bailout banks.
Does the PM agree that the EU meetings later today should be about growth above all?
PM: it is important but the firewall around the banks is the primary goal.
Asking about repatriation of powers, saying the EU has become burdensome, quoting Clegg from 10 years ago, saying the EU was overbearing
Cameron says little, except to say the coaliton will work to further our national interest
Big cheers and jeers. For the first time in months and months there are no words for fallen soldiers in afghanistan, because there haven't been any.
|@ Markfergusonuk : Is it Europe for Miliband this week? Can't think of any other obvious targets...|
|@ politicseditor : #Libdem mp Bob Russell cutting a dash in yellow waistcoat #pmqs|
|@ James_Macintyre : Francis Maude just said "the Govt. doesn't have a policy on repatriation of powers at this stage".|
|@ lucymanning : Well he's finally achieved the ultimate accolade..Vince Cable is trending on Twitter.|