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New view of PMQs for cameramen

Cameramen are to be allowed into the traditional Prime Minister's Questions bear pit for the first time today.

Previously, filming of the parliamentary set-piece has been limited to remote-controlled cameras fixed above the famous green benches.

But Speaker John Bercow has allowed two members of a TV crew access to capture eye-level shots of the exchanges.

The footage is for four-part BBC series Inside the Commons, fronted by respected documentary-maker Michael Cockerell and due to be aired early next year.

A spokeswoman for Mr Bercow said: "The established fixed filming in the House of Commons was not sufficient for the documentary makers, so they requested permission from the Speaker.

"Events in the House are a matter of public record, MPs are not unused to being filmed and PMQs have been broadcast live since 1980, so it seemed quite reasonable to grant this request."

Tory MP Brian Binley told the Mail on Sunday the move "cheapened" the House.

"I understand the balance between the media and Parliament is a fine and delicate one," he said.

"However, this is cheapening the Commons with some sort of political Big Brother-style show."

The permanent installation of ground-level cameras has been considered in the past to provide more flattering angles of ministers on the front benches.

However, Mr Bercow abandoned the idea last year after concerns were raised by MPs that they might not be able to catch his eye and be called to speak.

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