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Think Tank: PMQs should move to prime time slot

Prime Minister's Questions should be moved to a slot during TV's evening prime time and Speaker John Bercow should be given the power to "sin bin" misbehaving MPs for the duration of the session, a think tank has recommended.

The Hansard Society recommended sweeping reforms to David Cameron's weekly appearance before MPs, including questions from the public and sessions being moved to a prime-time slot on Tuesday or Wednesday evening in a bid to attract a younger audience.

Prime Minister's Questions takes place once a week in the House of Commons. Credit: Press Association

The report's co-author Dr Ruth Fox, head of research at the Hansard Society, said: 'PMQs is a cue for the public's wider perceptions of Parliament. It provides a lot of the raw material that feeds their negative assumptions about politicians.

"The public think the conduct of MPs is childish and wouldn't be tolerated in other work places. "They think politicians are simply not taking the issues that affect their lives seriously enough...

"Reform is overdue if PMQs is to move from being an inward-looking and self-referential event towards its proper role of scrutiny and accountability."


Hunt sought 'advice from independent regulators' to counteract prior bias

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is responding to the Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman's accusation that he backed News Corporation's bid to take over BSkyB when he should have been neutral.

He said that he had "expressed some sympathy for the bid" before he was responsible for it, and that for this reason he sought advice from independent regulators at every stage of the bidding process. He said:

If I was backing the bid I would not have sought the advice of independent regulators who may well have opposed the bid

'Categorically not the case' that there was a back channel of communications

The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that he is aware of the impression that there was a back channel for communications between himself and News Corporation during the latter's bid for BSkyB. Mr Hunt said this was "categorically not the case".

He said, however, that the "tone and volume" of communications between News Corp and his aides was "not appropriate".


Prime Minister: Government will stick to economic plan

The Labour leader Ed Miliband is challenging the Prime Minister over his economic policy at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

David Cameron denied that the coalition has been "complacent" and said that low growth is due to wider conditions in the world economy:

There is no complacency at all in this government...Our banks had too much debt, Our households had too much debt, Our Government had too much debt...We sill stick with our plans, stick with the low interest rates...and do everything we can to boost jobs.