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Jubilant Brown taunts Cameron to say how many "nurses, teachers, doctors, carers and other public servants" would lose their jobs under the Conservatives

VERDICT: It was good to hear David Cameron clearly reject proportional representation at PMQs today and accuse the democratically illegitimate Gordon Brown of attempting to fix the electoral system.  But today's PMQs will be remembered for Labour's accusation that the Conservatives are planning 10% cuts in spending.  An on-form Brown made this claim because of Andrew Lansley's gaffe on this morning's Today programme [CCHQ sources are furious with him].  Although a Conservative spokesman is saying that the 10% figure actually refers to cuts in spending planned by Labour it was a gift to Brown.  A Tory source also tells me that the NHS spending figures used by Brown during PMQs actually mean cuts once inflation has been taken into account.

Highlights, not verbatim:

BrownAddressingCommons 12.30pm: Clearly enjoying himself, Brown taunts the Conservatives to say  how many "nurses, teachers, doctors, carers and other public servants" will lose their jobs under the Conservatives.

12.25pm: This is the day the Prime Minister says that Andrew Lansley has revealed the real Tory manifesto - 10% cuts in public spending.

12.11pm: In a strong finish David Cameron says a man with no democratic legitimacy, who has been defeated at every opportunity by the British people now wants to fix the electoral system.  Brown replies by taunting Cameron on Andrew Lansley's 10% cuts remarks.  Cameron says the Prime Minister is planning 7% cuts in budgets.  The next election is going to be about Labour's mismanagement of the public finances by Alistair Darling, the Prime Minister's "second preference Chancellor." 

12.10pm: "No plans" doesn't mean anything from Gordon Brown says David Cameron.  He once said he had "no plans" to raise taxation and then raised taxation.  When I say "no plans" I mean "no plans", says Brown.

12.08pm: In a direct answer to a question from timing on a voting system referendum from David Cameron the Prime Minister says he has "no plans" to hold it before a General Election.

12.07pm: David Cameron says one very good argument against PR is that it allows extremists like the BNP to be elected.  After condemning the BNP Brown says he is personally against PR for the House of Commons but is interested in an Alternative Vote system under which the BNP would not win a seat.

12.04pm: David Cameron begins by saying that he is glad to see the Prime Minister back in place.  What electoral system does the Prime Minister support, he says?  The Conservatives support the existing system - always have, in good and bad times for the Conservative Party - as the best way of getting rid of tired, exhausted governments.  Gordon Brown welcomes the first question on policy "for ages" from David Cameron.  He says wait for the statement at 12.30pm.  Cameron replies by saying that he'd have been happy to wait for the statement if it hadn't all been leaked to the press.

12.01pm: In response to a question from Andrew Selous MP Gordon Brown wastes no time to leap on Andrew Lansley's remark about 10% cuts in budgets other than health, education and international development.  [The Tories have attempted an explanation here.]  In an obviously planted question Gerald Kaufman asks about Tory plans to cut housing, policing, transport and so on.

Tim Montgomerie


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