Hague asked whether Blair had estimated the impact of the Budget on local government pension funds. Blair replied that the Budget measures were "entirely right and necessary". Hague quoted the Local Government Association, and Staffordshire County Council, on the effects of the measures.
Verdict: Hague wins
Ashdown asked Blair to confirm that last week's Budget means five billion pounds less for public services." Blair said that although inflation predictions had been revised, the amount of "cash money" going to go into public services was unchanged. Ashdown quoted Treasury figures in support of his case.
Verdict: Ashdown wins
THE BACKBENCH ISSUES
THEMES OF THE DAY
Hunting with hounds (Tony Baldry, C. Banbury)
The British Airways dispute (Nicholas Winterton, C. Macclesfield)
Funding for the NHS (Ross Cranston, Lab, Dudley N)
GOOD DAY... ...BAD DAY
The people of Denmark vote "no" in their referendum on the Treaty of Amsterdam, would that render the entire Treaty null and void? Blair did not know that the answer was yes, or he did not wish to admit it.
(Con, Worcestershire Mid) usually manages to barrack Labour undetected. Today the Speaker recognised him as a source of noise pollution and commanded: "Mr Luff. Keep calm".
THE QUIP OF THE DAY
Blair told the Conservative benches: "Honourable members opposite may shout about it, but for those who work in the Health Service a billion pounds extra is well overdue". Ashdown pounced: "Yes, but of course not this year".
THE UNANSWERED QUESTION
John Hume (SDLP, Foyle) asked whether a process leading to lasting stability in Northern Ireland could best take place with "a total moratorium on all street activity and all marches."
THE CREEP OF THE DAY
Cranston asked Blair if he was "aware of the very warm welcome in the country, and in particular in my constituency, for the extra one billion to be spent on the NHS. Will he give the commitment to the House that the Government will continue to implement its manifesto promises to improve the NHS?"Reuse content