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VERDICT: "A clear victory for David Cameron.  Not just because his performance was strong – and it was – but I sense we’ve reached a tipping point.  The country has realised that all of the massively expensive government activity is not preventing the developed world’s worst recession and a potentially devastating loss of international market confidence in the pound and the wider UK economy."

Highlights, not verbatim:

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12.25pm: In a ridiculous intervention Dennis Skinner blames "Tory fat cats" for the banking crisis.  In a different times, says the Beast of Bolsover, they’d be called "the enemy within".

12.23pm: Edward Garnier (the man who nearly became Shadow Attorney General) presses the PM again on transparency of MPs’ expenses.  It is particularly offensive, he says, for MPs to be hiding their expenses at a time when so many are losing their jobs.

Picture_1412.18pm: Nick Clegg warns that the UK economy is on the edge of a cliff and Labour’s half measures are not helping.  Brown lists Labour’s initiatives on recapitalisation, the VAT cut and lending guarantees as consistent with other international governments’ initiatives.

12.16pm Cameron concludes his questions by saying that the country has lost confidence in the government and a recovery is impossible without such confidence.  An angry Brown says that Cameron is bringing no new ideas to fighting the recession.  He is out of step, the PM says, with all other world governments and out of his depth.

12.13pm: Cameron asks Brown to confirm that the taxpayer has already lost £20bn on the recapitalisation policy. Brown doesn’t answer but responds by saying that the Tories are isolated internationally with no other serious party supporting fiscal restraint at this time.  Cameron comes back with the line that Brown is isolated in Britain as the only person thinking he is doing a good job.

12.10pm: David Cameron says that Brown has been behind the curve on all economic issues.  Conservatives, he continues, have been setting the pace on insuring bank lending and calling for changes to the terms of bank recapitalisation.  Responding to Labour jibes about Ken Clarke he says that the difference between Ken Clarke’s legacy and Brown’s is that one Chancellor bequeathed a golden legacy and the other wrecked it.  In return, Brown quotes Ken Clarke’s words that Tory European policy as "dotty" and "crackpot".    

Picture_912.08pm: David Cameron responds by saying that neither did Obama propose a National Insurance-style hike on medium income workers.  Picture of Ken Clarke on Tory frontbench.

12.04pm: Cameron gets to his feet: Today’s rise in unemployment, the pound falling and debt rising we have had fresh confirmation that the UK economy is least well-placed to weather the world recession.  What is the Prime Minister’s response to a lack of confidence from world markets in the Government’s policies?  After listing some of Labour’s measures Brown says one thing Obama did not say is ‘My fellow Americans, Let’s do nothing."

12.02pm: Douglas Carswell MP asks Mr Brown why he is whipping Labour MPs to keep certain expenses details secret.  Why should there be one rule for members of the public and one for MPs?  Brown replies by saying that transparency will be greater in the UK Parliament than in many other legislatures.

I’m hoping for some anger from Mr Cameron today.  I got angry after reading Fraser Nelson’s column yesterday in which he struggled to communicate the seriousness of Britain’s economic plight.  Mr Cameron could try Policy Exchange’s 100 Reasons Britain Needs To Change.

Tim Montgomerie

15 comments for: David Cameron captures the national change of mood on the economy at PMQs

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