Conservative Diary

« The recent talks with the UUP and DUP were all about trying to bolster peace and security in Northern Ireland | Main | Closing the deal 9/10: Build better relations with MPs, journalists and other friends »

Harman and Hague clash at PMQs on Afghanistan and banking regulation

Jonathan Isaby's verdict: No killer blows, but Hague outperformed Harriet Harman. Her constant attacks on what the Conservatives did during the 1980s and 1990s get rather tedious and it was inappropriate of her to accuse William Hague of playing party politics on Afghanistan when he was taking a very constructive attitude. 

Picture 112.02 Harriet Harman explains that Gordon Brown is in Northern Ireland and that he will make a written statement on those matters later. She also pays tribute to the latest casualty in Afghanistan.

12.05 William Hague wished the PM well in Northern Ireland, saying that the Conservatives want justice and policing devolved. After paying tribute to the latest casualty, he wants reassurances that military gains be followed by effective reconstruction in Afghanistan.

12.07 Hague makes the point that the last conference on Afghanistan in 2007 made unreasonable targets over what ought to happen - will the aims be reasonable this time?

Picture 2 12.07 Harman says that she wants Hague's support rather than "carping". Hague says that he and Cameron are to visit President Karzai after PMQs and Harman should not make party political points. On banking regulation, Hague wants to know why Labour are not enthusiastically supporting Obama's plans. Harman says the US have different structures and the the government is addressing Britain's issues in its own way.

12.09 Hague asks about a levy on taxpayers that Obama has envisaged and calls on the government to drop the Tobin tax. Harman says she has never argued in favour of a one size fits all solution - but that she does agree with Obama on the fiscal stimulus - unlike the Conservatives.

12.11 Hague says that Obama has frozen spending and raised VAT - hardly a stimulus. Hague says that only central banks can supervise the banks properly and attacks Labour's system of regulation. Will the Government give the Bank of England that power again? She says it's nice to hear the Tories in favour of more regulation.

12.12 Hague says that Brown trumpeted his deregulation of the City only a few years ago. Hague says Brown is wrong on the BoE, wrong in failing to back Obama's reforms and that we have the deepest recession since the 1930s and the weakest recovery; and that it is time to back the US proposals to sort out the banks in the future.

12.13 Harman says Labour has supported the economy through the recession and into recovery, and attacks the Tory record in the 1990s.

Picture 3 12.14 Vince Cable for the Lib Dems congratulates Harman for establishing the national equalities panel which has now shown that income inequalities are the same as in 1997 and wealth inequalities have got worse.

12.15 Harman says inequality widened under the Conservatives and that the "growing inequality has been stemmed" under Labour and is determined that they do more.

12.16 Cable says that the tax system is unfair. Why has a Labour Government given priority to cutting tax rates on capital gains for the wealthy rather than for the poor on their earnings?

12.17 Harman say Cable is wrong about what he says about the report's findings and claims that it says that inequality has narrowed. She says that people would not be helped by the savage cuts proposed by the Lib Dems.

12.21 Tory MP David Jones asks if she is happy about the way Tony Blair is going about becoming filthy rich. Harman says she wants to promote social mobility.

12.25 St Albans MP Anne Main wants a statement on Equitable Life victims before the general election. Sir John Chadwick will be making interim findings in the spring, Harman says.

12.32 Tory MP Anthony Steen raises his concerns about the safety of children in Haiti in danger of being trafficked. Harman says there is work that needs to be done internationally on the issue.

Jonathan Isaby


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.