PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTIONS

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Indy Politics
THE SCORE

John Major

Surprised by Blair's line of questioning (mixed wards on the NHS), his strategy was to pretend Blair had asked about the state of the NHS overall, and reply to that. His answers to other questions were also poor.

3/10

Tony

Blair

Forced Major close to admitting that despite government promises two years ago, the abolition of mixed wards had not been made a priority and nothing had been done.

7/10

THEMES OF THE DAY

"Low levels of unemployment in my constituency" (Ann Winterton, C. Congleton; Graham Riddick, C. Colne Valley)

Education Boards in Northern Ireland (John Hume, SDLP Foyle)

Beef (Roseanna Cunningham, SNP Perth and Kinross)

BLAIR'S ATTACK

Blair had been expected to ask questions about handguns but instead asked three questions on the government's promise to end mixed-sex wards in NHS hospitals. Major did not know whether to be glad or worried by Blair's choice.

GOOD DAY.. ...BAD DAY

MARGARET HODGE

asked whether Major was aware that fifty per cent of women who are put into psychiatric hospitals have a history of sex abuse, and asked for a date for the abolition of mixed wards. Major replied she should not `paint a picture of the NHS that does not exist for the people who actually use the NHS'.

GRAHAM RIDDICK

hopefully the last in a long line of Conservative MPs to stand up and tell Major how marvellously low unemployment is in their constituency, and ask whether he thinks this is thanks to the Conservative Government.

QUIP OF THE DAY

"If you vote red, you live in the red". The best attack a flustered Major could manage, focusing on Labour's proposals for a windfall tax.

UNANSWERED QUESTION

Hume: "Could you explain to me why your Minister of Education has proposed that the number of education boards... in Northern Ireland be reduced from five to three... every MP from Northern Ireland... the leaders of all the political parties...and the leaders of all the churches have disagreed with him... all the local authorities have disagreed with him". "Well I don't believe that... I don't believe that is the position..." began Major, but he did not know. He said he would find out and write Mr Hume a letter.

CREEP OF THE DAY

Bernard Jenkin (C. Colchester N): "Is my Rt Hon Friend aware that the average household electricity bill in the Eastern area is pounds 272; in France it's pounds 366; and in Germany it's pounds 394. Doesn't this demonstrate the success of privatisation?"

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