Conservative Diary

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Live PMQs blog from noon 3pm

Highlights, not verbatim:

3.30pm: Gerald Howarth ends PMQs with an encouragement to the Prime Minister to do more to convince the British people that our troops are not dying in vain.

3.28pm: Ex-Tory MP Andrew Pelling invites Brown to give the British people a referendum on Europe. Brown takes the obvious opportunity to make his (illegitimate) 'Cameron has broken his cast-iron commitment and can't ever be trusted again' argument.

3.25pm: Andrew Mackay asks about childcare vouchers for working women. Brown replies by saying no government has ever done more for childcare. [Background on controversy here.]

Picture 73.22pm: Tim Loughton MP asks the Prime Minister about the difficulties local authorities are having in retaining social services staff with responsibility for looking after at-risk children. Brown completely fails to answer the question.

3.20pm: Far left Labour MP Alan Simpson backs Brown on Tobin Tax. The PM jokes that this is the first time the honourable gentleman has ever backed his economic policy.  [Ed: That fact should make Bown think!].

3.18pm: We don't get to Nick Clegg until 18 minutes into PMQs. The LibDem leader then asks about controversial changes to housing allowances.

3.11pm: Cameron questions Brown about an eleven page leaked memo to Peter Mandelson that proposes various cuts in youth training programmes. For the second time John Bercow warns Labour backbenchers to stop shouting David Cameron down. They are reducing time for backbenchers' questions, he says. Brown responds by saying Labour is increasing university places and apprenticeships. Brown ridicules Cameron's 'cast-iron' commitment on Europe and says his promises to help the young unemployed are worthless.

Picture 53.08pm: Cameron says youth unemployment in UK is highest in Europe. He says long-term youth unemployment is up by 50%. Brown says 700,000 more young people are in work than in 1997 and quotes alternative data saying youth joblessness is higher in Spain and Ireland, in particular.

3.05pm: David Cameron begins his questions by paying tribute to the Royal British Legion. He then goes on to say that one-in-five young people are unemployed. Does the Prime Minister accept that his commitment to abolish youth unemployment has failed? The PM responds by questioning David Cameron's statistics saying over 200,000 of the people he quotes are full-time students looking for part-time work. No other country in Europe, Brown says, is doing more to help the unemployed.

3.04pm: Brown says he expects Obama to announce intentions on Afghanistan within "next few days".


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