Conservative Diary

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Gordon Brown dismisses David Cameron's calls for a general election at PMQs

Jonathan Isaby's verdict: The Commons was relatively disciplined and orderly in the wake of recent events; David Cameron repeatedly demanded an election and Gordon Brown repeatedly refused to accede to that demand. The Prime Minister looked weak and suggesting that an election would result in a Tory victory was something of an own goal. Definitely a Cameron win.

12.27 Tory MP Stewart Jackson wants grandparents treated with fairness and equity in the legal system; Gordon Brown points to a measure in the Budget which he claims should attract support in this area.

12.20 When youth unemployment is rising, why, asks Tory MP David Lidington, are apprenticeship budgets being cut in his constituency? Brown insists more is being invested in apprenticeships but promises to look at the situation in Aylesbury.

Picture 1312.15 Clegg does get his supplementary and rejects the idea of an election, saying that "a few new faces with the same old rotten rules" is not enough and seeks fundamental reform of the electoral system.

12.12 Nick Clegg thanks the Speaker for his dignified resignation statement and welcomes news of a statement on the Gurkhas. The expenses issue is just the tip of the iceberg, he says, and asks for reforms of party funding and Whitehall secrecy as part of wide-ranging reforms. Brown says he is looking at various of these issues - and the Speaker forgets to call Clegg's supplementary. 

12.10 People just hear the arrogance of a PM who won't let the people decide, says Cameron. Frank Field is quoted by Cameron as describing as vacuous the government's lack of a programme. Cameron reels off examples of the Government's lack of action in various areas and again demands an election. Brown still begs to differ...

Picture 1212.08 Browns bats off the idea of an election, saying he's addressing the issues. Cameron retorts: How better to address the issues than to have election?

12.07 Cameron says the best way to show humility is to ask the people to vote and give a mandate to a new government: the US had an election in the middle of a recession and that did not cause chaos.

12.05 David Cameron echoes the tribute to Michael Martin. He asks: What did Brown mean by saying there would be chaos if there were a general election? Brown talked about Tory spending cuts; Cameron points out it's the first admission that Brown thinks he's going to lose.

Picture 1112.03 Answering a question about the Gurkhas from a Labour MP, Brown says Jacqui Smith will make a statement tomorrow.

12.00 Gordon Brown sends condolences to the family of the latest casualty in Afghanistan; he also pays tribute to Michael Martin's "outstanding" record of service to the country. He slips up in answering a question from a Lib Dem about the Royal Mail, referring to it "losing 5 million letters a year", causing much mirth and the Speaker having to call for order.

Jonathan Isaby


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