PMQs: Playing Punch and Judy with the NHS

News & Analysis

7th January 2015

Today’s PMQs was, predictably, about the NHS. But the Punch and Judy nature of the session seemed particularly small in the light of events in Paris.

After expressions of solidarity with the French, normal business was resumed. Ed Miliband was enjoying himself, confident that he was on his party’s chosen turf. He piled into Cameron accusing him of blaming patients for the crisis and demanding that he apologise to those who have had to wait for more than four hours. Cameron fended him off, but didn’t look particularly comfortable. However, he had a good counter-attack ready, attacking Miliband for allegedly having told the BBC’s Nick Robinson that he wanted to ‘weaponise’ the NHS. Interestingly, Miliband did not deny that he had said this.

This NHS attack undoubtedly plays to Labour’s strengths. But one problem for it is that the NHS in Wales, which is run by Labour, is — to use Labour’s language — in an even worse ‘crisis’ than the one in England. Now, this nuance might well be lost on voters. But it does have the potential to undermine Labour’s attack on the Tories.