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Education: David Cameron invited Tony Blair to agree that any MP who believed in greater parental choice and more freedom from LEAs for schools should vote for today’s Education Bill.  Tony Blair replied that the Bill would also restrict selection and give more power for LEAs to intervene in failing schools.  These measures, the PM suggested, explained why David Cameron was only imposing a two line whip on his own rebellious Conservative MPs.  The Tory leader suggested that the PM should concentrate on whipping Labour MPs and leave him to worry about Tory whipping arrangements.  The PM read three quotes in which Mr Cameron had previously encouraged speedy passage of the Education Bill.  Why was the Tory leader now intending to vote against the programme motion (which shortens debate)?  Because, DC replied, the Tories believe in parliamentary scrutiny – two words which the PM probably couldn’t even spell.  Very Punch & Judy.

Jericho: Mr Cameron’s first three questions had focused on the Jericho jail break and Britain’s relationship with Hamas.  Tony Blair said that the British government respected the democratic legitimacy of Hamas but that it would have to behave peacefully and recognise Israel if it wanted substantial help from the UK or the EU.

Ming’s moment: The LibDem leader asked about the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s finding that DWP guidance on company pension schemes had been "inaccurate, incomplete, unclear and inconsistent".  The PM said that no responsible government could underwrite the massive financial risks that private citizens undertake with regard to their pensions.  Towards the end of PMQs another LibDem MP asked about pensions.  The grey leader’s party will clearly be courting the grey vote.  Something for all of us to watch…

Backbencher of the day: Tory MP Quentin Davies.  Mr Davies invited the PM to act against the outrage that any donor could buy a peerage by giving substantial sums to a political party.  The PM didn’t answer the question and said something irrelevant about everything being more transparent since 1997.

25 comments for: PMQs: Punch is back

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