PMQs 22 February - NHS Reforms, David Cameron's Poll Tax?

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 22/02/2012 09:49 Updated: 22/02/2012 11:47

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Ed Miliband appeared to be having fun at prime minister's questions today, having found an issue to beat David Cameron with.

The Labour leader used all his questions to slam Andrew Lansley's health reforms and warned the prime minister the Bill could be his "poll tax". Crucially for Miliband, his backbenchers seemed to be having a riot as well.

There are suggestions that the NHS is starting to cost the Tories electoral support, with an ICM/Guardian poll on Monday showing Labour had gained ground.

For his part Cameron accused Miliband of showing an "absence of leadership" for not asking questions about the Labour motion on the NHS risk register that will be debated tonight.

And in a show of support for his health secretary he reportedly gave Lansley a "fist bump" as he left the chamber. Although one tweeter suggested he may have been aiming at his head.

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@ paulwaugh : Cam just gave Lansley a fist bump as he left PMQs. Interesting...

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@ paulwaugh : Speaker keeping Dave back for detention? PMQs now 36 mins long

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@ IsabelOakeshott : Wonderful EdM/pm combat in pmqs.do public really take a dim view of feisty debate,as Bercow claims?

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The sessions has now gone on way over time. Bercow does like to make it drag out by adding injury time - which annoys the prime minister somewhat.

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@ SteveHiltonGuru : Jo Johnson very good on US/US extrad arrangement. Dave surprisingly well-briefed on this ;-) I wonder why

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@ seandilley : The PM has just totally denuded and discredited the Leveson inquiry. Read why on my blog http://t.co/uckoAtTC

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@ FelicityParkes : That was so planted, it still has greenfly on it. #pmqs

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Tory MP Peter Bone asks about the deportation of Abu Qatada, but really it's a chance for everyone to laugh at his tongue-in-cheek habit of talking about his wife.

"Last week at breakfast table Mrs Bone was saying how she knew the PM wanted to deport the errors Abu Qatada," he says.

"But she knew it was being blocked by the deputy PM and the Lib Dems. Suddenly our 11 year old son Thomas asked is Nick Clegg a goodie or a baddie?"

Cameron sinks into his seat as Bone asks his question, it is probably not possible for him to be rolling his eyes more.

"There's only so much detail I can take form the Bone household," he says.

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@ RobWilson_RDG : Is Peter Bone becoming pantomime and still very funny! Overall EM tailed off badly and therefore slight PM win.

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@ TimMontgomerie : DC doesn't ask Peter Bone's question: Is Nick Clegg a goodie or baddie on deportation of Abu Qatada? #pmqs

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@ PatJHennessy : Cam: "There's only so much detail I can take from the Bone houehold" >> Amen #PMQs

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@ PSbook : I think Priti Patel might find that it isn't just the "militant hard left" opposing #workfare #PMQs

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@ NickyMorgan01 : Why was Ed Miliband looking so closely at Harriet Harman's phone? What or who did he expect to see or hear from ? #PMQs

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@ michaelsavage : On #NHS, important for Labour it doesn't entirely give up mantel of reform - huge pressures on it are why Lib Dems won't back axing the Bill

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@ janemerrick23 : Cameron joins in (veiled) criticism of #leveson - press freedom should not be chilled. But he only set it up to deflect coulson storm? #pmqs

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Yesterday Michael Gove said he feared the Leveson inquiry into press ethics was having a "chilling effect" on press freedom.

Asked about the comments at PMQs Cameron says it was right to set up the inquiry but says it is important to have a "vibrant press".

Read the report on what the education secretary said here.

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@ DenisMacShane : Cam reduced to personal abuse and insults. He's PM for goodness sake

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@ MichaelDugherMP : Cameron was utterly desperate today. Arrogant and out of touch. Ed Miliband was right - the Govt should #dropthebill.

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Frank Field English grievances over the current devolution settlement. He wants a major debate on the "English question".

The Labour MP says England needs equity with the rest of the UK when it comes to democratic representation.

But Cameron says he believes the UK has been an incredibly successful partnership. He does not want English people to "nurture grievances" against the Scots.

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@ Tim_Dickens : Joking aside, Miliband was good today - Andrew Lansley was squirming #PMQs

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Shouting over the noise of backbenchers from both sides Miliband says the NHS Bill will become Cameron's poll tax.

"I'll our match our record on the NHS with him any day of the week," he says.

Cameron accuses Miliband of showing an "absence of leadership" for not asking questions about the Labour motion on the NHS risk register that will be debated tonight.

Town MPs then start shouting "DOWN" in unison as Cameron says that waiting times have gone down under the coalition.

Unfortunately they all shouted "DOWN" again when the punchline to the prime minister's next line was a different word. Oops.

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@ sammacrory : Speaker Bercow asks MPs to calm down and consider how public will view them. MPs groan at their mention.. #pmqs

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@ DomGover_Lon24 : #PMQs D-Cam crunches Miliband angering the Labour leader

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@ rafaelbehr : Where do you buy whatever it is Clegg takes to look so etherally tranquil in #PMQs?

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Miliband is enjoying himself here and so are his backbenchers, who are being quite loud.

And John Bercow is having fun telling them to calm down. "Members might be enjoying themselves, I ask them to think of what the country thinks."

He tells them to "preserve some parliamentary manners".

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@ PWSkinnerMEP : Cameron nothing positive to say about his own health bill. Why so many health professionals excluded from health summit? #pmqs #dropthebill

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It's getting quite rowdy in the chamber as the two leaders spar over the NHS Bill.

Cameron tells Miliband he should worry less about his diary and more about his own "complete lack of substance".

While Miliband says Cameron and Lansley are not listening to the people who work in the NHS. He tells Lansley to "calm down" in the face of heckles.

And he says the PM does not "understand his own bill".

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@ JamesMills1984 : Cameron is wobbling on #NHS at #PMQs

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@ MShapland : Ed Miliband has one trick, and he's played it 5 times #pmqs

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@ AnushkaAsthana : Ed Miliband goes on NHS now and gets lots of laughs about Govt's summit without doctors and nurses. #PMQs

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