PMQs 30 November: David Cameron And Ed Miliband Clash Over Strikes (LIVE BLOG)

30/11/2011 11:37 | Updated 30 November 2011

David Cameron has labelled Wednesday's public sector strikes as a "damp squib" and attacked Labour leader Ed Miliband for being "irresponsible, left wing and weak."

According to the PM around 40% of schools are open, only 18 job centres are closed and only a third of the civil service is on strike.

During tense exchanges in a PMQs, held as an estimated two million public sector workers strike in protest at public sector pension changes, the prime minister denied he welcomed the industrial action.

"I don't want to see any strikes, I don't want to see schools close, I don't want to see problems at our borders", he told MPs.

And he accused Labour of being "in the pocket of trade union leaders" and unwilling to confront the need to reform public sector pensions.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband hit back, saying he was proud of workers supporting his party and it was "better that than millions from Lord Ashcroft".

Miliband accused Cameron of being "out of touch" with "decent hard working people", asking: "Why does the prime minister think so many decent, hard-working public sector workers... feel the government simply isn't listening."

Parliament has certainly been affected by the strikes - catering staff and Hansard writers are all off-work.

Check our liveblog for the latest developments and colour from the Commons.

30/11/2011 12:37 GMT

One MP's verdict

@ andrewpercy :

Have left PMQs. Most ridiculous one I've sat through thus far. Silly comments flying about, lots of noise, just childish.

30/11/2011 12:26 GMT

Mogg update:

@ adamboultonSKY :

Jacob Rees Mogg MP stirs the pot, praises patriotic strike breakers and suggests sacking strikers. DC non commital

30/11/2011 12:25 GMT

Cameron condemns the attack on Britain's embassy in Tehran as "appalling and disgraceful", says number one concern is the safety of staff.

30/11/2011 12:24 GMT

@ PSbook :

The Labour frontbench are really winding Cameron up with their "calm down" gestures #PMQs

30/11/2011 12:23 GMT

Jacob Rees-Mogg is up!

We're not sure what he asked (distracted by his hair). Something about Regan and air traffic controllers.

30/11/2011 12:21 GMT

Dan Hodges, no fan of Ed M, liked him today

@ DPJHodges :

Ed stronger on the strikes than the economy. Which is a bit worrying. But good, passionate performance.

30/11/2011 12:19 GMT

And so did Harriet H

@ lucymanning :

Even Harriet Harman laughs as PM says they're all shouting in unison or should that be on behalf of Unison

30/11/2011 12:18 GMT

One tory MP found it funny:

@ DavidJonesMP :

PM: "They're all shouting in Unison." Nice one #pmqs

30/11/2011 12:18 GMT

Ed: 2.8m people out of work according to the OBR

"Another conservative prime minister for whom unemployment is a price worth paying".

Now Miliband's asking about the coalition's fiscal mandate - they have "failed" to balance the books because of higher borrowing costs.

"The truth is his plan has failed. He refuses to change course and he's making working families pay the price. At the very least we now know he'll never, ever be able to say again 'we're all in this together'."

Cameron accuses Ed Miliband being on the side of those who want to disrupt borders. He makes a trade-union related pun about Labour MPs shouting in the chamber "they're all shouting in Unison [geddit]"

Cameron: "We are being tested by these difficult economic times" but we will get through it.

He repeats that Ed M is weak, left-wing and irresponsible.

30/11/2011 12:13 GMT

Ed: The PM doesn't understand his own policy

He's going down the 800k low paid workers route. This could be a good track - Ed gets a win when he goes down the detail route.

Now Ed is asking about unemployment.

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