Jeremy Corbyn was tackled at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) today by a Tory MP who accused him of making an “outrageous” claim about his cancer treatment.
The Labour leader was urged to apologise for saying he hoped Michael Fabricant received “the same treatment everybody else got” when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Their argument came when Fabricant praised NHS medics who looked after him in hospital earlier this year, saying their care was “simply wonderful”.
But in his first address at PMQs since being re-elected Labour leader, Corbyn offered the following tribute to the MP.
“I too join the Prime Minister in wishing the Member for Lichfield well and obviously hope that the treatment he got is the same treatment that everybody else got, because we want good treatment for everybody in our society.”
The remark sparked a heated reaction from the Conservative benches, prompting Corbyn to rebut: “It’s not controversial, I’m just wishing him well. Is that okay?”
He then apologised for starting his weekly sparring with Theresa May on “such a controversial note”.
The usual joust of PMQs then began, with Corbyn tackling May on her government’s foreign workers climbdown and refusal to give parliament a vote on the terms of Brexit.
But Fabricant sprung up after the session drew to a close to then accuse Corbyn of implying “I had had special treatment under the NHS”.
“Can I say that that is completely outrageous and is not the case, and perhaps the Leader of the Opposition would like to clarify or even apologise to me and the NHS workers who worked so well for my care,” Fabricant said.
Corbyn hit back, retorting he had done “no such thing” and that he “wished him well, as I wish everybody else well who is being treated in the NHS”.
“I love and value our NHS,” the Labour leader continued, “because it treats everybody equally, gives everybody the best possible care they can and the best possible recovery recovery prospects that are available to them.
“I said no such thing and I think it’s unfortunate the Honourable Member thinks I did.”