PMQs as-it-happened

Ian Dunt By

11:56 - I wonder which of the following weak spots David Cameron will zero in on this week: Ed Miliband's contortions following the anti-Syria intervention vote, his shadow chancellor's decision to slowly U-turn on austerity, or the fact the GMB are pulling their most of their funding from the Labour party. He might even find time for all three. Kick off is in five minutes.

11: 59 - Everyone is in their seats and waiting to start. Cabinet Office questions are winding up with another volley of attacks about the limits it places on free speech. Chloe Smith looks marginally less like Harry Potter today.

12:01 - And we're off.

12:03 - Like some blast from the past, Cameron congratulates the Prince of Wales on the upcoming birth of his child. Feels as if MPs have been on holiday for ages. Christopher Pincher (Con, gruff) says there's plenty of good economic news. Is it time for Labour to abandon plan B? Well there's my first suggestion ticked off.

12:04 - Miliband is up. Sustained jeers from the Tory benches. Miliband is a bit too sombre by half. He asks if the PM will get other countries to match the UK's aid commitment to Syria at the G20 this week. Cameron says yes, but he again won't look at Miliband. The body language between the two has fundamentally changed since that Syria vote last week.

12:06 - What specific support can the UK give to neighbouring countries dealing with the influx of immigrants. Cameron says the refugee camp in Jordan is one of the biggest cities in the country. He praises his strong relations with those countries but doesn't mention anything specific. "At the end of the day what we need is a solution to the Syrian crisis." Dangerously, he says we should be clear about our revulsion at the use of chemical weapons. Miliband says that revulsion is on all sides of the House. Little support for that, as the fresh wounds remain.

12:07 - What's the government doing with the Syrian National Council for peace talks? Cameron is pretty vague. He insists they won't get a peace process unless Assad realises his regime is under threat. Miliband says: "there is no difference in this House on the need to stand up for the innocent people of Syria”. Groans and heckles. "The House has addressed this issue so far in a calm and measured way and we should continue to do that."

12:09 - "It’s all very well for countries supporting either side to want peace talks to take place" Cameron says, but we need primary actors in Syria to recognise it too. You can see Cameron struggling to get angry. He still can’t bear to look at Ed Miliband. Even when he faces forwards, his eyes are down. "Nobody disagrees with our revulsion at the use of chemical weapons the question is how to deal with it," Miliband says again. More murmurs of discontent. Miliband looks directly at Cameron.

12:12 - Cameron swats away a question on Iran. Cameron starting to become visible angry. "Does he accept that there remains support across the country for UK taking every diplomatic and humanitarian effort to help the Syrian people. Last week's vote was not about Britain shirking its responsibilities. It was about the rush to war,” Miliband says. Cameron replies: "I agree we must use everything we have in our power to bring to bear. My only regret of last week was I don’t think it was necessary to divide the House on a vote which could have led to a vote but he thought it was."

12:14 - That was much less Punch and Judy than usual, but ironically it was probably the most genuinely bitter exchange between Cameron and Miliband that we've seen. The splitting of the Syria vote seems to have permanently poisoned relations. Jack Straw gets up to stress that there is a new Iranian president, who we can "deal with". He wants Cameron to take steps now to improve relations with Iran and "try to get them involved in solving Syria". Cameron says it is a positive step but "we go into these sorts of discussions very very cautiously".

12:17 - A snap verdict isn’t really applicable here, but that's never stopped me before. I'll give it Cameron: 2 Miliband: 1. Miliband's position is contorted, whatever you think of last week's vote, and Cameron kept his temper in check. His pose of sad regret is precisely the right one.

12:19 - Jeremy Corbyn also piles on pressure for the UK to deal with Iran, but Cameron says they need to deal with the fact they sacked our embassy. People do often resent that sort of thing. "If we believe there's some magical key to the Syrian conflict by adopting a different posture towards Iran" it won't be the right decision. The focus on Iran is interesting. The country has been frozen out of the political negotiations over the Middle East because the US doesn't want to admit it's a player, but its absence is increasingly hard to justify. Jack Straw, who was sacked, basically by George Bush Jr, for saying we shouldn't bomb it, is easily the most public advocate of a changed relationship. Dame Joan Ruddick says something about Syria, which involves the phrase "joined up thinking". God help us.

12:23 - Neil Parish (Con, the wit and credulity of a puppet) asks a planted question. No point repeating it. Graham Evans (Con, barely concealed anger) asks another planted question ("Does he agree my honourable friend was right to stick with his economic plan"). "Even today the shadow chancellor is saying he's going to borrow even more," Cameron says.

12:27 - Tory MPs are looking at Balls and making upwards hands motions - a play on his constant 'flat' sign. Cameron is confident and capable dealing with the questions, but nothing special. Sir Peter Tapsell stands - quiet in the House. "I've always had the Armageddon question in my mind" over Syria, he says. If the US illegally bombards Assad and Assad legally allows the Russians in, what would Nato do? Hmph. "It's not the case that the only way action was legal was through a UN resolution," Cameron replies. "You have to put the Armageddon question the other way - if no action takes place following this appalling use of chemical weapons, what sort of Armageddon will the Syrian people be facing?"

12:30 - Cameron tries his old trick, of asking Miliband whether he would reverse the spare room subsidy. "Nod for yes, shake for no." Miliband is motionless. This is a bruising manoeuvre Cameron sometimes uses. It is effective.

12:32 - Barbara Keeley asks an interesting question about branded school uniforms, which force parents to take out loans to afford them. Cameron, with some passion, argues for a "robust" uniform policy. Julian Lewis gets up. He looks like a man who steals dolphins. He wants the PM to prevent the Tories being blackmailed by the Lib Dems on Trident. This is all he ever talks about really. That and the dolphins.

12:34 -John Mann (Lab, unsettled) begins: "Is it not the case...." Half the Commons shouts 'no'. After it's all died down, he asks if it's true how far real wages have fallen. Cameron says: "of course we live in tough times". Gordon Bertwistle (Lib Dem, fantastic name) wants the PM to congratulate the businesses in Burley. Yeah, that was worth sticking around for. Ok, that's it for this week. Pretty lukewarm session there with the Tories again seeming much more jubilant and confident than Labour.

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