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David Cameron brands Ed Miliband the "nowhere man of British politics" as they spar over school sport and publication of bankers' salaries at PMQs

By Jonathan Isaby

Back from paternity leave, Ed Miliband thanked David Cameron for the gifts he had sent his new son, although declined to reveal what they were. He then went to attack the Government for taking funding away from the School Sport Partnerships and asked for the decision to be reversed.

Picture 8 David Cameron said that he was taking away that specific grant and putting it into basic school funding, which would rise by £3.6 billion this Parliament. He said that the money may have gone to the SSP under Labour, but it did not produce results. He noted that only 2 in 5 pupils regularly play competitive sport and only 1 in 5 play competitive sport against other schools. Labour's approach didn't work, he insisted: the time for telling headteachers how to spend money is over; they should get the budget and decide how to spend it.

Miliband came back, quoting the concern of a school sport co-ordinator from Witney and saying that it was a daft decision of Michael Gove who was "high-handed, incompetent and unfair".

Cameron repeated that his approach was different to that of Labour, under whom some age groups were playing less sport last year, whereas the Coalition is protecting playing fields, holding a Schools Olympics and cutting red tape associated with school sport.

Picture 9 In his second three bites of the cherry, MIliband tackled Cameron on why he is not disclosing how many bankers are paid salaries or bonuses of over £1 million. Cameron said he agreed in principle with doing so, but that the man who conducted the Review on the matter, David Walker, believes that the UK should not act unilaterally, but rather wait until others do, and he agreed with that advice.

The rest of the exchange descended into Cameron saying he was taking no lessons from Miliband, who was at the Treasury when Labour didn't regulate the banks properly, created the biggest boom and bust and gave Fred Goodwin a knighthood, with Miliband reminding the House in return that Cameron was in the Treasury on Black Wednesday.

Concluding the exchange, Cameron repeated the oft-stated refrain that Labour left this Government with the biggest deficit of any G20 country: "He's got nothing to say about the deficit or regulation - he's the nowhere man of British politics."

In other questions:

  • The Prime Minister agreed with David Tredinnick that Parliament Square needs to be cleared up well before the Royal Wedding next year. He said that he defends the right to peaceful protest but has never seen the reason why people should be able to sleep in Parliament Square.
  • He agreed with Labour MP Michael Connarty that tips in restaurants should be distributed to staff and not diverted or used to top up the minimum wage.
  • Bill Cash asked why at every turn the Government is acquiescing in more European integration with no repatriation of powers. Cameron said that he's wrong and that the previous Government would have caved in over the 6% EU Budget demand and that this Government has got assurances about being excluded from future bailout mechanisms
  • Cameron agreed with Jonathan Lord in condemning new Unite leader Len McCLuskey for saying there is no such thing as an irresponsible strike.
  • Charlie Elphicke used a question to highlight the fact that Alan Johnson believes the 50p tax rate should be temporary, whilst Miliband takes a different view.

John Bercow ruled out of order a question from Tory MP Gavin Williamson about "workplace bullying" relating to shadow cabinet divisions on the grounds that it did not relate to government policy.


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