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PMQs 25 January 2012 - GDP, NHS, RBS

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PMQs This Week Is Expected To Mull Over The GDP Figures
PMQs This Week Is Expected To Mull Over The GDP Figures

It's Huffpost UK's weekly coverage of PMQs, and as you might expect Ed Miliband kicked off by asking David Cameron about the GDP figures released earlier on Wednesday.

The main revelation was that a committee will meet this week to pave the way for Sir Fred Goodwin to potentially be stripped of his knighthood, and Downing Street was immediately inundated with queries about how that process might work.

Ed Miliband didn't go hell-for-leather on GDP, reserving three of his six questions for NHS Reform, which is very quickly running out of supporters, even among Tories. But on the economy Ed Miliband accused the government of "arrogance and complacency" over the economy, and all David Cameron can do is recycle his previous missives about record low interest rates, and all the initiatives the government are doing. And of course, remind us that it's much worse in Europe, because it clearly is.

Opinion is divided; even those who support the government's austerity agenda are worried that more needs to be done to stimulate growth. Earlier this week the National Audit Office cast grave doubts about the government's Work Programme to stimulate the jobs market, and our national debt passed £1 trillion.

It felt a bit like a score-draw for Cameron and Miliband this week. The Labour leader was bolstered by big cheers and roars from his backbenchers, which makes a change. For many, many weeks, the Tories have managed to cheer louder, and from inside the Commons the difference is palpable. Not so much this week, though. Cameron managed some good attacks on Miliband - but most of them didn't come in their head-to-head exchanges, they were delivered as asides to other questions from backbenchers.

He accused Miliband of "panic and backstabbing" every time Labour came under attack by the unions, and all Ed Miliband could do was shake his head.

Despite this, David Cameron must feel as though the public hasn't lost patience with him, even if Labour and the unions have. Remarkably despite all the economic doom and gloom, the Tories remain incredibly buoyant in the polls. And for that reason, once again the pressure remains on Ed Miliband to perform more than the Prime Minister.

It was a lively and fun PMQs which cast far more heat than light. But Cameron will be pleased that the attention this afternoon will shift to Sir Fred Goodwin, who's clearly more unpopular than the PM and Ed Miliband combined.

Here's how it played out in detail:

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