Major presented an NHS in a better state than ever as a result of being in Conservative hands for two thirds of its lifetime. Labour's criticisms were dismissed by Major as an insult to the service.
Blair argued that Labour built the NHS, which should be run again as a "proper co-operative service, not hospital against hospital, doctor against doctor; and the only party that will rebuild the NHS is the party that created it". Pointlessly, both leaders only presented their stock image of the NHS.
THEMES OF THE DAY
Crisis in the NHS (every Labour question)
Labour's tax plans (every Conservative question but one)
The riot at Full Sutton prison (John Greenway, C, Ryedale)
Police (Sentencing) Bill defeat in Lords (Paddy Ashdown)
Blair asked whether Major disputed hospital figures on children turned away from one hospital to seek intensive care at another. Major responded, in the light of the Shadow Chancellor's tight spending pledge on Monday, could Labour do any better without any extra money?
After briefly looking as though he would tighten the screw over children turned away from hospitals, Blair managed to broaden his questions so much that Major easily answered them with broad assertions of his own.
GOOD DAY... ...BAD DAY
Anne Campbell's (Lab, Cambridge) direct question on paediatric intensive care beds at Addenbroke's Hospital laid Blair's groundwork. She will earn points from the Labour question-fixers.
Blair said 20,000 managers had been created since 1990. Major replied "the figures that the Right Hon Gentleman quotes on managers are wrong". Government statistics say 20,902.
THE QUIP OF THE DAY
Major's description of John Prescott (Lab, Hull East) "The mouth of the Humber".
THE UNANSWERED QUESTION
Ashdown asked whether the Home Secretary would note that if he wished to amend the Police (Sentencing) Bill in a more Liberal direction, "we stand ready to participate". Despite calls of "what an offer!", Major declined to accept on Michael Howard's behalf.
THE CREEP OF THE DAY
Patrick Cormack (C, Staffordshire South) asked the Prime Minister "Would my Right Hon Friend remind those who listened with incredulity to the speech of the Shadow Chancellor yesterday, that although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it is no substitute for the original?".Reuse content