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Cameron promises to look at early introduction of Cancer Drugs Fund

VERDICT: Another confident PMQs performance from David Cameron during which he promised to talk to Andrew Lansley about possibly introducing the Cancer Drugs Fund early. PMQs was also notable for three hostile questions from the backbenches:

  • Most hostile was Philip Davies on reducing prison numbers.
  • Then from Douglas Carswell on the fact the Coalition is having a referendum on AV but not Europe.
  • Third - the least hostile - from Graham Brady on whether savers and pensioners would be protected in next week's Budget (code for the CGT issue).

Highlights, not verbatim:

Bercow Smiling 12.30pm: Lots of laughter in Commons after Speaker says to Labour benches that they should not jeer at Tory backbenchers (Harriet Baldwin) who support the Government. I remember you doing that all the time, Cameron jokes as he looks at the Speaker.

12.28pm: Graham Brady urges the Prime Minister to avoid hurting savers and investors in next week's Budget. Cameron replies by saying there are no easy solutions to Labour's awful legacy.

12.25pm: In response to a question from a Labour MP David Cameron says next week's Budget will create a tax system that makes Britain a good place for investors, particularly hi-tech investors.

Screen shot 2010-06-16 at 12.18.5212.19pm: Douglas Carswell asks the second hostile question from the Tory backbenches. Why is there to be a referendum on AV - which wasn't part of all parties' manifestos - but no referendum on Britain's relationship with the EU - which had been? The Prime Minister responds by confirming the Coalition will introduce a referendum lock to stop any transfers of power to the EU without the consent of the British people.

12.18pm: In response to a question from Margaret Hodge the Prime Minister promises to talk to the Health Secretary about speeding up the Cancer Drugs Fund. The manifesto plan was to introduce the Fund next year but Mr Cameron says he hopes to speed its introduction.

12.10pm: Ms Harman urges the Prime Minister to rule out hurting the poor in next week's Budget. David Cameron says that Labour should give an apology to the British people for the economic mess. He compares the Labour leadership line up to a Star Trek convention.

12.04pm: Harriet Harman quizzes Cameron on unemployment. She repeatedly challenges Mr Cameron to concede that the Office of Budget Responsibility has said that unemployment will be lower than Labour had forecast. David Cameron replies by saying that the OBR also said that the structural deficit would be higher than Alistair Darling promised and growth would be lower. In response to the acting Labour leader's charge that the Coalition is talking the economy down the Prime Minister says Labour did the economy down. They failed on boom and bust, Cameron says, and presided over one of the longest and deepest recessions in the world.

Screen shot 2010-06-16 at 12.01.52 Noon: Philip Davies asks the most hostile question Cameron has faced so far from his own backbenches. Further to a story in the daily Mail, did people vote Conservative to see fewer people sent to prison? He calls on the prime Minister to cut 4,000 prisoners' access to Sky TV. David Cameron says cuts are difficult but have to be made because of the Labour legacy. He promises to tackle the fact that so many prisoners are on drugs and reoffend.

Tim Montgomerie


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