David Cameron seemed unconvincing in today’s Prime Ministers Questions. The session started slightly late because of an overrun of the Northern Ireland Questions. The Prime Minister failed to address several questions asked by the opposition. This was David Cameron’s first session in weeks, as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stepped in on the last session.
The Prime Minister completely ignored the question from a member of the opposition who claimed that the Tories would end up borrowing £96 billion. David Cameron has always deflected claims that his government are borrowing a substantial amount of money and in this Prime Ministers Questions the matter was no different. David Cameron was then asked about the bill intended to give the voting public the right to recall an MP, he said that he and his party are in favour but that it would have to be reviewed by a committee of the House. Again this wasn’t a very clear answer the Prime Ministers response defeats the purpose of the right given to the voters.
David Cameron said that a committee of the house will decide if an MP is guilty of any wrongdoing. If a select committee decides either way, this will inevitably reflect the public’s opinion. This isn’t giving the voters the right to decide if their MP is guilty of any wrongdoing. The constituents should be able to decide for themselves and then vote on whether to recall the MP in question or not. The Prime Minister continuously ignored questions asked by the opposition and accused the Labour Party of going back on their word regarding Child Benefit.
Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, asked the obvious question of the crisis in the NHS regarding waiting times in the Accident and Emergency services. Earlier this week the tabloids were filled with statistics clearly showing that waiting times for A&E have never been higher. The Prime Ministers response was that his government are meeting their targets regarding A&E. However, perhaps the governments targets are too easy to achieve, the standards need to be higher in arguably the most important institution in the United Kingdom. The leader of the opposition made it very clear that people having to wait for longer than four hours in A&E is higher than ever before.
Ed Miliband went on to say that although the Prime Minister has had six weeks away, he’s no better at answering the questions. Ed Miliband said: “The Prime Minister says crisis, what crisis?” The leader of the opposition also mentioned that there were more cancelled operations under this government than ever before. David Cameron accused the Labour Party of not meeting their targets in Wales but yet completely ignored the statistics put forward by Ed Miliband. The leader of the opposition described David Cameron as: “Complacent and an out of touch Prime Minister.”
The leader of the Labour Party said that more than a quarter of walk-in-centres had been closed down in the first two years of the Tory reign. This is just one of the reasons contributing to such long waiting times in A&E. David Cameron acknowledged that his government found it difficult in the first two years but this was because of the General Practitioners Contract introduced by the previous government. Ed Miliband stood firm and said the Prime Minister was blaming a GP Contract that was ten years old for a problem that has occurred recently. The leader of the opposition also pointed out that the ‘top-down programme’ that nobody voted for was a betrayal to the NHS. David Cameron responded with a mention to the Mid-Staffordshire situation blaming the Labour party, which has become quite a cliché.
The NHS dominated the majority of the discussion in today’s Prime Ministers Questions. However, there were other important issues on the agenda. Julian Lewis asked if the House would be consulted if a decision was to be made to arm the Syrian rebels. The Prime Minister said the House would be consulted but failed to rule out that his government are planning to arm the Syrian rebels. Arming the rebels would simply be barbaric and can be described as trying to put out a fire by pouring petrol over it. It wasn’t long till another question about the NHS was asked by a Labour MP who said that the£3 billion programme has diverted attention and resources from the NHS.
The Prime Minister was asked whether he would intervene and expel judges who failed to imprison convicted paedophiles. David Cameron mentioned that the set up of the British Constitution would not allow him to do so. However, the Prime Minister could have said that he would be willing to discuss this matter with the Lord Chancellor. David Cameron failed to answer the question about housing for European Union residents in the UK. This highlights the growing speculation that the Tories are in disagreement among themselves about Europe.
The Conservative MP, Phillip Davies said: “It is more expensive to watch TV in a hospital than it is to watch TV in prison.” David Cameron’s response was shady and he talked about his previous experiences using TV’s in hospital but said that he would talk to the Lord Chancellor to make it more expensive to watch TV in prisons. The issue of cigarette packaging was again brought in to the limelight by Julian Huppert and was greeted by jeers as usual. A Labour MP claimed that the Prime Minister and his government need to stop making promises they can’t keep.
This wasn’t the best performance from David Cameron in today’s Prime Ministers Questions. He seemed reluctant to answer direct questions and to address the statistics put forward by the opposition. Ed Miliband stood firm regarding the NHS making it clear that his side of the House feel that the NHS is not safe in the hands of the current Prime Minister and his government. Ed Miliband seems to be growing in confidence as the Conservatives continue to disagree amongst themselves. The Prime Minister wasn’t able to defend his party’s poor performance on the NHS. David Cameron will be aiming to come back stronger in the next Prime Ministers Questions, next week.