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Harman challenges Cameron on crime and policing at PMQs

Highlights, not verbatim:

Picture 1 12.03 David Cameron begins by paying tribute to those who died in the July 7th bombing five years ago today.

12.06 Harriet Harman echoes the PM's tributes. Harman then asks whether perpetrators of domestic violence will still be able to be sent to prison for short sentences after the current review.

12.07 Cameron agrees there are times when short sentences are required and cites the speech by Ken Clarke. Harman welcomes the fact that the Lib Dem policy will not apply. She congratulates Cameron on listening to his mother the magistrate, not Nick Clegg.

12.10 Cameron pays tribute to Ken Clarke, who is celebrating 40 years in the House and indeed also to his mother - who often had to sentence CND protestors from outside Greenham Common. On the Home Office, he says there are examples of waste and inefficiency in every department - and the cuts will be Labour cuts too as they went into the election promising cuts.

Picture 2 12.12 Harman asks whether there will be fewer police officers at the end of the Parliament. "Of course there will be difficult decisions," replies Cameron. But he cites Alan Johnson as refusing to make the promise to keep police numbers the same as well before the election.

12.13 In response to further questions from Harman,Cameron says we are here because of the £155 billion deficit - "We are clearing up the mess Labour created".

12.14 Saying that the Government is threatening to take away police officers, make it harder to use DNA evidence and take away CCTV, Harman asks if those policies are more likely to make crime go down or up. Cameron says that violent and gun crime went "through the roof" under Labour. Bercow then cuts off Cameron when he wanted to start talking about Alastair Campbell's Deborah Mattinson's memoirs.

12.15 Harman concludes by asking the PM to promise that crime will keep coming down under this Government. Cameron makes one promise back to Harman: "I won't be wandering around my constituency in a stab proof vest".

12.20 The DUP's Nigel Dodds wants urgent talks between the PM and leaders of the devolved administrations about the constitutional reform agenda. Cameron says the date of the referendum on AV is a matter for Westminster and is right to be decided there.

Jonathan Isaby


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