Blair was aggrieved that Major did not answer his questions, focusing instead on Blair's record. Blair decided soundbites would be more worthwhile and poured scorn on Major ("weak, weak, weak") and the Government.
It is still Major's job to expound Government policy, and on this count this he failed yesterday. But he was Blair's equal when it came to attacking the benches opposite
Blair took Major to task for allowing Tory candidates to voice their opposition to the single currency in election addresses, presenting this as a sign of an incurable party split. Major came back at Blair accusing him of politics of convenience, and said he was trying to `censor and smother' Eurosceptic Labour voices.
THEMES OF THE DAY
The General Election (almost throughout)
NHS funding (Gerry Sutcliffe, Lab, Bradford South)
Sovereignty over Gibraltar (Jerry Hayes, C, Harlow)
Party splits on Europe (Blair, Major)
The Events of `Bloody Sunday' (John Hume, SDLP, Foyle)
GOOD DAY.. ...BAD DAY
John Hume elevated proceedings, until then focused only on the General Election, by asking a question on the `Bloody Sunday' massacre 25 years ago. Major's reply showed him capable of almost elder-statesmanlike gravitas.
David Ashby (North-West Leicestershire) stumbled through a question on the statement by the Chairman of Toyota: "Does not his statement show that it is important that we should maintain that gateway but ... er ... er ... that we should maintain our foot in Europe so that ... er ... we get ... er... an increased ... er ... er ... investment."
THE UNANSWERED QUESTION
Peter Bottomley (C, Eltham) asked whether Major agreed that large numbers of manifesto promises had been abandoned since the last election. Of course, he had Labour in mind, as did Major when he replied by offering a prize to anyone who could find five policies that Blair had stuck to.
THE QUIP OF THE DAY
Betty Boothroyd as Blair rose for a fourth, unavailable question and the Tory benches erupted in righteous anger: "I think there are a lot of members of this house who are suffering from pre-election tension"
THE CREEP OF THE DAY
A nervous silence descended as Jerry Hayes asked whether Major agreed "that the people of Gibraltar are fiercely proud of being British and don't want to be a province of Spain".Reuse content