Jonathan Isaby’s verdict: Time and again Brown refused to admit the extent of the debt into which he is taking the country and was forced to accept, under questioning from David Cameron, that the VAT rise to 18.5% had effectively been considered. A solid and confident perfomance by Cameron, whom I would deem to have won the encounter, albeit not by a huge margin.   

12.29pm Tory MP David Jones asks why the value of the £ against the $ has fallen by a quarter since July. Brown uses the same line as at a recent PMQs, when he said Lady Thatcher said that Britons should never talk down the currency.

12.28pm The Speaker prevents Brown from quoting Andrew Lansley again.

12.28pm Tory MP Douglas Carswell tries to get Brown to admit that national debt will double to £1 trillion, as David Cameron had done unsuccessfully before. But he wouldn’t, merely saying that the figures were oin the PBR.

12.22Picture_15pm Nicholas Soames seeks an assurance that the defence budget not be cut. Brown does not give a straight answer.

12.20pm Brown announces that April 2nd will see the next meeting of the G20 in London and that President Obama expects to be there.

12.19pm Labour backbencher Ian Davidson reopens the class war by saying those born with silver spoons in their mouths can’t understand the problems of most people.

12.17pm Cleggs says Brown’s answer was bluster and calls for fair tax cuts by closing pensions loopholes for millionaires, for example, saying he toyed with the hope of British people and let them down.

Picture_1412.15pm Nick Clegg says Alistair Darling’s PBR included the word fairness eight times, but that it wasn’t fair.

12.12pm Brown’s pre-prepared taunt at Cameron is that he s a "do nothing leader of a do nothing party".

12.11pm Soundbites of the day from Cameron: "This Prime Minister has given us the debt levels of Italy and the accounting practices of Enron" and "The country’s going bankrupt, he’s be found out and New Labour is dead".

12.10pm Cameron compares debt levels to those seen when Denis Healey was Chancellor. Brown again asserts that the Tories want to do absolutely nothing and let the recession take it course.

2.09pm Brown taunts Cameron with a quote from Andrew Lansley that recession "Could be good for us". Cameron points out that Lansley has apologised – unlike Brown for what he has done to the economy.

12.08pm Cameron repeats the question about doubling the national debt.

12.06pm DC asks whether Brown’s plans double the national debt. Brown replies by saying that it will still be lower as a proportion of GDP than many other European countries.

12.04pm Cameron quotes the VAT document that was available on the internet. He says the party may make some FoI requests on the issue, asking if an even higher rise was considered. Brown says all kinds of things were considered and instead asks what the Toires would do. DC says he’d freeze council tax and various other schemes the Tories have announced.

12.03pm David Cameron asks why the treasury minister signed the document suggesting a VAT rise to 18.5%. Brown claims he has learnt lessons from when the Tories raised VAT in the past.

12.01pm Long-serving Tory MP Sir Peter Tapsell kicks things off by asking for an apology from Brown for wrecking the British economy. ‘Tis not forthcoming…

Jonathan Isaby

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