ED Miliband has proposed a Public Question Time in which members of the public would have a regular chance to grill the Prime Minister in an attempt to bridge the "miles-wide" gulf between Britain's political class and voters.

The Labour leader, who last week sought to take head-on criticism of his "geeky" public profile, insisting it was substance and not style that voters wanted, claimed he did not have a leadership problem.

Rather, he suggested, politics was suffering from a disconnect between the public and politicians, and in a bid to help remove it, he suggested an interaction between the PM and voters.

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"What we need is a public question time, where regularly the Prime Minister submits himself or herself to questioning from members of the public in the Palace of Westminster on Wednesdays.

"Why is that important? Because I want to let the public in to our politics. At the moment there is the glass that separates the public in the gallery from the Commons, but there is a gulf miles wide between the kind of politics people want and what Prime Minister's Questions offers."

The Public Question Time would take place once a fortnight if the plan won the approval of Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Mr Miliband praised Nick Clegg for seeking a direct link to the public through a weekly radio phone-in, and suggested he would soon do the same.

The Labour leader stressed his initiative was not a gimmick but a serious suggestion. "I want to find ways to change our political culture," he said.

"It's not just about photo-opps - that is a problem - it is deep and it goes well beyond that."

The issue of PMQs has exercised a deal of political debate lately. At the year's outset Mr Miliband adopted a "serious and sober" approach, trying to avoid Punch and Judy exchanges with Mr Cameron. However, this barely lasted a month.

Mr Bercow has frequently upbraided ministers and MPs for their barracking, and said that some women MPs absented themselves from Question Time because of the histrionics.

Last week, the Deputy Prime Minister branded the weekly half-hour session a complete farce.