David Cameron tried to pull no punches against his rival Ed Miliband while announcing plans for NHS services to be in operation seven days a week.
He admitted at the Conservative Party Spring Conference today that the “high-stakes” General Election is on a “knife-edge”.
The Prime Minister was armed with insults from the get-go against the Labour Party, who are currently slightly ahead of the Tories in opinion polls.
He admitted that the election could only go two ways – with chips firmly stacked on both sides compared to the other hopeful parties – with only 40 days to go until polling day.
The 9 worst car crash interviews in recent politics
The 9 worst car crash interviews in recent politics
1/6 Chloe Smith on Newsnight
George Osborne was enjoying a good day as he scrapped a planned 3p rise in fuel duty in June, 2012. But then someone had the bright idea of putting Chloe Smith, a junior Treasury minister and then something of a rising star for the Tories, on Newsnight. But she was unable to convincingly answer a single question posed to her by Jeremy Paxman, even the ultimate killer blow: “Do you ever think you’re incompetent?”
2/6 Boris Johnson on Andrew Marr
Eddie Mair, standing in for Mr Marr during his stroke recovery, might have been seen as something of a soft touch in March 2013 before he destroyed the London Mayor on the BBC’s flagship Sunday current affairs show. Mair presented a series of anecdotes about the harsher side to the fluffy-seeming Mr Johnson’s rise to power and concluded: “You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you?” Boris didn’t quite seem to know how to respond.
3/6 Ed Miliband on Good Morning Britain
Labour’s leader faced some slightly inevitable accusations of being “out of touch with reality” from ITV’s Susannah Reid after she surprised him with a “how much does X cost question”. This time it was during an interview on how much he knew about his much-vaunted “cost of living crisis” – and Mr Miliband underestimated the average household grocery bill per week by about a third. He admitted he was wrong – but later tried to wriggle out of the situation by claiming he was only referring to “basic groceries” not his “overall shopping bill”.
4/6 Rachel Reeves on Daily Politics
The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary got very mixed up on whether Labour were promising “a freeze or a cap” – when energy prices actually stopped rising and fell. Refusing to accept that her party had enacted a u-turn on policy, she said: “It wasn’t us who changed – it’s the world that changed.” She later couldn’t give any examples of retail prices being successfully fixed by governments – stumping for “the minimum wage – the price of labour”.
5/6 David Cameron on Gay Times
Grilled on his MEPs’ voting records on gay rights in the European Parliament, a pre-prime ministerial Mr Cameron suggested they could vote any way they liked. But he also said the right not to suffer discrimination based on sexuality was a fundamental human right – meaning it should not be subject to an open vote. The former PR man got so flustered he had to ask for the cameras to be turned off because he was getting “distracted”.
6/6 Nigel Farage on LBC
Nigel Farage’s image as a plain-speaking, not-like-that-lot-in-Westminster politician suffered one of a number of dents in May 2014, when a tense 22-minute confrontation with LBC’s James O’Brien had to be cut short by his spin doctor. Patrick O’Flynn – who is now an MEP for Ukip – had to step in when Mr Farage was repeatedly questioned on his views on race and why he would be uncomfortable if a group of Romanian nationals moved in next door to him.
He did his best to discredit the opposition with consistent digs while promising full access to hospital services every day of the week by 2020, if re-elected.
This is despite Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ campaign director, advising the party to stick to talking about the economy as he said Labour is more trusted on the NHS issue.
Labour plans to limit private firms from making more than five per cent profit on hospital contracts and wants to spend £2.5bn more than the Tories on the NHS with funds raised by the “mansion tax” on properties over £2m.
The Prime Minister – who visited Salford Royal Hospital with his wife Samantha today – also called the Labour Party a “bunch of hypocritical, holier-than-thou, hopeless, sneering socialists”.
After being welcomed on the stage by Chancellor George Osborne, he says: “Thank you George, it is a pleasure to work with you. We are a team. We work very closely together.”
He keenly added, in reference to Mr Miliband’s race against his brother to lead the Labour Party: “We make decisions together, we get on with each other. How do we do it? It’s not like we’re brothers or anything!”
It was an obvious swipe at Mr Miliband after he spoke, on the so-called debate show Battle for Number 10 on Thursday, about the “bruising” contest he had with his sibling. Ed added that his strained relationship with brother David Miliband is “healing.”
Mr Cameron also criticised him for being “too weak”, contrary to his previous jibes about competing against his own brother. But he wasn’t unaware that his comments could be deemed a little below the belt as he admitted that he was getting “personal”.
After Mr Miliband’s surprising effort on the first televised election debate this year, and with less than six weeks to go until 7 May, Mr Cameron could be becoming a little desperate.
He said: “Some people might say, don’t make this personal. But when it comes to who’s prime minister, the personal is national.”
“The guy who forgot to mention the deficit could be the one in charge of our whole economy.
“The man who is too weak to stand up to the trade unions at home could be the one facing down our enemies abroad.
“The leader who thinks leadership is climbing aboard the latest bandwagon – he could be the one taking the make-or-break calls in the middle of the night,” he added.
However, Labour politicians as well as the British Medical Association council have questioned where Mr Cameron expects to find the money to deliver extended weekend healthcare.
Dr Mark Porter, who chairs the British Medical Association council, said: “Without a detailed, fully-costed plan to provide the staff and resources needed to deliver more seven-day services, this is at best an empty pledge and at worst shameless political game playing with the NHS ahead of the election.”Reuse content