Dennis Skinner Tells Jeremy Hunt To 'Wipe That Smirk Off Your Face' Over Junior Doctors Strike

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of "reveling" in taking on junior doctors ahead of a planned two-day NHS strike rather than seeking a solution.

Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner told the health secretary he had a "smirk and arrogance" about him that "almost betrays the fact that he is delighted" in the conflict.

Hospitals across England are finalising plans for dealing with the first all-out strike by junior doctors in the history of the NHS. It will run from 8am to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The British Medical Association (BMA) objects to the planned imposition by Hunt of a new contract on junior doctors.

Speaking in the Commons, Skinner said Hunt should restart talks today to resolve the dispute and "wipe that smirk off his face" and "get down to some serious negotiations".

"He comes in here to try and blame the Opposition for what's taking place. This strike can only be caused by two sides. One are the junior hospital doctors and the other side is the government.

"He is almost giving the impression that he is reveling in standing up to the junior hospital doctors. Start negotiating now and sort the matter out."

Hunt told Skinner his attack was "unworthy of his track record" in the Commons.

Hunt used his appearance in the Commons to appeal directly to junior doctors not to take strike action that will see them stop offering emergency care for the first time ever.

"No trade union has a right to veto a manifesto promise voted for by the British people," he said.

"I wish to appeal directly to all junior doctors not to withdraw emergency cover which creates particular risks."

The BMA objects to the imposition of a new contract that includes a cuts to the pay offered to doctors at weekends.

And junior doctors have argued there is no risk as more senior colleagues will step into fill the gaps while they are on strike.

Jeremy Corbyn to CWU conference today on the NHS strike: "I just sometimes wonder if there isn’t a deeper agenda here – to gradually reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Health Service at the same time as promoting the private medical industry.

"So the NHS becomes the service of last resort, rather than the universal first port of call for all of us."

This morning a junior doctor resigned live on TV claiming he felt "backed into a corner" by the government.