PMQs: The importance of Doncaster, almost to the exclusion of everything else

At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, David Cameron and Ed Miliband first clashed on the subject of economic growth (or, indeed, contraction). That entanglement was, more or less, a score draw. But Ed Miliband was much stronger during a later exchange on the NHS reform bill, culminating with this belter:

I shall tell the Prime Minister what is happening in the NHS: waiting lists up, morale down. What does the majority-Conservative Select Committee on Health say about his reorganisation? It says that it will be a “disruption and distraction that hinders the ability of organisations to” release savings.

Let us be frank: this is a Bill that nobody wants. It is opposed by doctors, nurses and patients. Before the election the Prime Minister said, “No more top-down reorganisation.” Is it not time he kept at least one promise, put aside his pride and arrogance, and dropped this unnecessary and unwanted Bill?

In return, all Cameron could do was bleat on about Doncaster, almost to the point of obsession.

Pass the sick bag, Alice

It takes considerable aplomb to out-pontificate Sir Peter Tapsell, but Eleanor Laing (Con) managed it with a very loud quotation from Robert Burns, it being Burns Night (Day). OK, she’s Scottish. – Shame she has to represent Epping Forest.

But she set off David Cameron who also felt the need to quote Burns. Oh dear.

iPad watch

Caroline Spelman (Con), Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, spent the first few minutes of PMQs catching up on her email on her iPad. Bless her. She types very well on a touch-screen.

Liberal Democrat questions

Suitably, for Burns Night (Day), they came from two Scots:

Sir Robert Smith stated that the UK has developed a world-leading safety regime for offshore oil and gas which is threatened by EU regulaton. He asked if the PM would press for directives which can be interpreted flexibly, rather than regulation.

Malcolm Bruce asked about the British Airways takeover of BMI and what assurances there would be to retain landing slots at Heathrow Airport from regional airports such as Aberdeen.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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3 Comments

  • ………..Let us be frank: this is a Bill that nobody wants……….LibDems vote for it
    ……….. It is opposed by doctors, nurses and patients…………. LibDems vote for it
    …………Before the election the Prime Minister said, “No more top-down reorganisation..as did page 24 of the Coalition agreement

  • At the time when the coalition came together, much to my horror as someone from the left who had supported the lib dems, I said to a lib dem colleague that the plans for the NHS were in themselves reason enough for resigning from the party. The bill is not thought through, like so many of the coalitions policies. The thing is, even though the NHS is close to my area of work, I have no idea what is now going to happen or what the plans actually are. neither can I see any way back as Cameron was correct, it is all sort of lurching ahead anyway. It isnt a policy or a plan so much as vandalism. Does anybody still actually support it other than the very few tories like Cameron and Lansley who havent got the wherewithal, or decency, to admit they have screwed up.

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