Cabinet reshuffle: Lansley replaced by Hunt in health job

 

New ministers Chris Grayling, Ken Clarke, Jeremy Hunt, and Theresa Villiers on their new jobs

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Andrew Lansley has been replaced as Health Secretary by Jeremy Hunt as part of an extensive government reshuffle.

The move is a promotion for Mr Hunt, who has been under pressure for his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid.

Elsewhere, Chris Grayling replaces Ken Clarke as Justice Secretary and Transport Secretary Justine Greening is controversially moved to another role.

London Mayor Boris Johnson criticised Miss Greening's move, suggesting it heralded a rethink on aviation policy.

Miss Greening - a strong opponent of a new runway at Heathrow - has been replaced by former Conservative Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin after less than a year in the job and will take over the lower-profile role as International Development Secretary.

MOVING JOBS

  • Jeremy Hunt to Health Secretary
  • Patrick McLoughlin to Transport Secretary
  • Andrew Mitchell to Chief Whip
  • Andrew Lansley to leader of the House of Commons
  • Justine Greening to International Development Secretary
  • Owen Paterson to Environment Secretary
  • Ken Clarke to Minister without Portfolio
  • Baroness Warsi to Foreign Office minister
  • Damian Green to police minister. Mark Harper to immigration minister
  • Mark Hoban to employment minister. Michael Fallon to business minister
  • Mark Prisk to housing minister. Lib Dem Norman Lamb to care services minister

Unlike Miss Greening, Mr McLoughlin - who was a transport minister under Lady Thatcher and Sir John Major - is said to have "no baggage" over Heathrow expansion.

Mr Johnson said the development was a sign the government may rethink its approach to new air capacity in the south of England.

He described her as a "first-rate transport secretary" and said her opposition to Heathrow expansion was the "only possible" reason for the change and promised to fight this all the way.

The reshuffle is the Prime Minister David Cameron's first major restructuring since the Conservative-Lib Dem government came to power in 2010.

The changes have not affected key figures such as Chancellor George Osborne, Home Secretary Theresa May or Foreign Secretary William Hague - who will all remain in their posts.

Education Secretary Michael Gove and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will also stay in their jobs, with Downing Street saying it wanted these "strong reformers" to continue their work.

'Huge task'

The BBC understands Mr Duncan Smith was offered the job of Justice Secretary but turned it down.

Those leaving the government in the shake-up include Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan and Commons leader Sir George Young.

Among notable promotions, Maria Miller and Theresa Villiers join the cabinet as Culture Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary and Housing Minister Grant Shapps becomes Tory Party co-chairman.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the changes at health, transport and justice were intended to address perceived Conservative weaknesses in the long run-up to an election scheduled for 2015.

NEW FACES AND DEPARTURES

  • Chris Grayling to Justice Secretary
  • Theresa Villiers to Northern Ireland Secretary
  • Maria Miller to Culture Secretary (also brief for women's' and equalities issues)
  • David Jones to Welsh Secretary
  • Grant Shapps to Conservative Party chairman
  • Oliver Heald to Solicitor General
  • Caroline Spelman, Cheryl Gillan, Sir George Young, Edward Garnier, Gerald Howarth, Crispin Blunt, Nick Herbert and Tim Loughton are all leaving office
  • Lib Dem David Laws back as education minister
  • Lib Dem ministers Sarah Teather, Paul Burstow and Nick Harvey are standing down

Speaking outside No 10, Mr Hunt said he was "incredibly honoured" to take charge of the Department of Health.

"It is a huge task and the biggest privilege of my life," he told the BBC.

Mr Lansley, the architect of controversial reforms to the NHS in England, has effectively been demoted to the more junior role of leader of the House of Commons.

Mr Clarke also takes a lesser role as minister without portfolio in the Cabinet Office, where he will act as a government "wise head" offering advice to Mr Cameron on issues including economic strategy.

He has been replaced by employment minister Chris Grayling, who was shadow home secretary before the 2010 election and is regarded as being to the right of Mr Clarke on justice issues.

Mr Clarke denied the move was a humiliation and he was "pleasantly surprised" to remain in cabinet.

He added: "At my age you do occasionally have to step down from a heavy departmental role before you suddenly realise you can no longer quite handle it."

Start Quote

What the prime minister has done is fired and hired, like any business leader, to attempt to address some of the weaknesses. ”

End Quote

Among other changes, former Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson becomes the new Environment Secretary, while Wales Office minister David Jones has been promoted to Welsh Secretary.

Baroness Warsi has lost her job as Conservative Party co-chairman but will continue to attend cabinet in the dual role of Foreign Office minister and minister for faith and communities.

Below cabinet level, Solicitor General Edward Garnier, defence minister Gerald Howarth, prisons minister Crispin Blunt and Children's minister Tim Loughton have all been axed, while policing minister Nick Herbert has resigned after reportedly turning down a move to the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs.

But Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London 2012 organising committee, will be given a peerage and become a Treasury minister. Treasury minister Chloe Smith moves to the Cabinet Office. She is replaced by Sajid Javid.

'No change'

All five Liberal Democrat cabinet ministers, including Business Secretary Vince Cable, will remain in their posts.

But there are changes lower down the Lib Dem ranks. Former cabinet minister David Laws - who resigned over his expenses in 2010 - has returned to the government as a junior education minister.

He replaces Sarah Teather, who is leaving the government - along with Lib Dem care services minister Paul Burstow and defence minister Nick Harvey.

But there are promotions for Norman Lamb and Jo Swinson, both close to Mr Clegg. Jeremy Browne moves from the Foreign Office to the Home Office.

STAYING PUT

  • Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
  • Chancellor George Osborne
  • Foreign Secretary William Hague
  • Home Secretary Theresa May
  • Education Secretary Michael Gove
  • Defence Secretary Philip Hammond
  • Business Secretary Vince Cable
  • Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander
  • Energy Secretary Ed Davey
  • Scottish Secretary Michael Moore
  • Communities Secretary Eric Pickles
  • Attorney General Dominic Grieve

Pressure has been growing on Mr Cameron in recent months, with several Conservative MPs accusing the coalition of not doing enough to promote economic growth.

In response to Tuesday's changes, backbencher Peter Bone said Mr Cameron seemed to be "listening to his party" and the new team had a more "traditional look".

But Labour said there would be no change in economic policy with George Osborne remaining in place.

"This is the no-change reshuffle," said shadow Cabinet Office minister Michael Dugher.

He added: "This reshuffle isn't a fresh start - it's more of the same from an out-of-touch and failing government that stands up for the wrong people."

Other Conservative appointments so far include:

Hugo Swire - Foreign Office minister

Damian Green - policing minister

Matthew Hancock - business and education minister

Michael Fallon - business minister

Daniel Poulter - health minister

Anna Soubry - health minister

Philip Dunne - defence minister

Helen Grant - justice minister

Jeremy Wright - justice minister

Stephen Hammond - transport minister

John Hayes - education minister

Elizabeth Truss - education minister

Esther McVey - work and pensions minister

 

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  • rate this
    +38

    Comment number 867.

    To those out there who disike the current govt and politicians go out and do something about it. Join a policical party, press your MP for change, make your voice heard. If your ideas are so great people will stand with you and stand with you. It's all easy stuff and makes more difference than commenting on here. You may also see that change takes a lot longer than you expected.

  • rate this
    +105

    Comment number 637.

    A General Election is called for not a reshuufle. The only thing keeping the coalition alive is Lib Dems fear of wipeout.

  • rate this
    +37

    Comment number 629.

    Will all this shuffling around make any difference? I doubt it very much. It is all just smoke and mirrors and gives the media something to gossip about! Address the basics - we are broke and in serious debt. That is what really concerns me.

  • rate this
    +79

    Comment number 565.

    To Stroud and proud. 'Cut and cut again' like a thrifty housewife is hardly applicable to a modern sophisticated economy; the proof is in the fact that we are in a double dip recession since the ConDems took office. The main priority should be getting people back into work so that they will spend their wages buying goods made by other workers, i.e an upward spiral, e.g. Keynesian Economics

  • rate this
    -151

    Comment number 195.

    To everyone who has said that this is "reshuffling the chairs on the titanic", or "we need a change in economic policy" - what do you recommend? Harping on about "change" is not very helpful. At least cutting spending on benefits is doing SOMETHING to try and balance the books. Would you prefer we just carry on as we were? It's debt that's sinking the titanic, and at least they've GOT a plan.

 

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  10.  
    13:56: Lord Wigley's statement Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

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  11.  
    13:55: Apology for Auschwitz comments

    Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley has apologised for "any offence caused" after he compared the effects of a Trident submarine base to a Nazi death camp. Here's our story about his original comments which came on BBC Radio 4's World at One.

     
  12.  
    13:53: NHS strike in N Ireland

    A strike by NHS workers in Northern Ireland, including ambulance staff, is to go ahead tomorrow after the "failure" to match a pay offer in England, the GMB union has said.

     
  13.  
    13:48: TV debates The World at One BBC Radio 4

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  14.  
    13:40: PMQs verdict New Statesman

    Over at the New Statesman, George Eaton judges David Cameron's "chutzpah" to have carried him over the line in this week's PMQs. "The session descended into one of the ugliest encounters yet between the two men," he writes, before notching up yet another defeat for Ed Miliband: "Most voters will notice Miliband's equivocation and the rhetorical exaggerations that Cameron provokes... the PM's ruthless form was testimony to his increasing confidence."

     
  15.  
    13:39: MoD... golf courses?

    Defence secretary Michael Fallon has raised eyebrows during his speech at the Institute of Government by revealing the Ministry of Defence owns 15 golf courses. After confirming his department needs to make more efficiency savings in the coming years, he suggested further cuts were essential. "How many cars and vehicles do we really need?" the Daily Mail quoted him as saying. "And does MoD really need to own 15 golf courses?"

    Michael Fallon
     
  16.  
    13:30: 'Weaponise the NHS'? The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Pressed over whether Ed Miliband said he wanted to "weaponise" the NHS, shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker says Labour will prioritise the health service because that, he says, is what the public wants.

     
  17.  
    13:28: Major incidents rules The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Asked about the guidance given to hospitals over when they call "major incidents", Lib Dem Justice Minister Simon Hughes tells Radio 4's World at One programme it seems "entirely sensible". Conservative minister Mark Harper says the document was issued by the NHS in West Midlands and ministers had nothing to do with it. He acknowledges there are "unprecedented pressures" on the NHS and says only a strong economy can deliver a sustainable NHS.

     
  18.  
    13:17: 'What is NHS England's involvement?' House of Commons Parliament

    Finally, Labour MP Clive Efford asks "what is NHS England's involvement?" in the guidance on major incidents. Jeremy Hunt says he is "quoting selectively" from the guidance. When a local health body makes a decision on a major incident, "it must make sure there isn't going to be a negative impact on the wider economy because patients must come first".

     
  19.  
    13:16: Conservatives reject 'war on Wales' charge Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    In the post-PMQs briefing, the Conservatives say Ed Miliband's claim the PM was mounting a "war on Wales" was an "extraordinary comment to make". PM was "absolutely right" to highlight problems in Welsh NHS, they add.

     
  20.  
    13:13: 'Rely on professionals' House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MP Stephen Mosley says ministers should "rely on local health professionals to make the best choices". Jeremy Hunt agrees. "We don't want an NHS where every single operational decision is taken from behind the health secretary's desk," he tells the House, claiming that this approach will keep politics out.

     
  21.  
    13:07: 'My duty to weaponise NHS' House of Commons Parliament

    Labour MP Barry Sheerman says "it is my duty as a member of the opposition to weaponise" the NHS.

    He argues that Labour needs to win the election and stop the government's "disgraceful policies".

    Jeremy Hunt replies that "there are too many on the Labour side who think exactly like that".

     
  22.  
    13:04: TV debates Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Pollster Ben Page of Ipsos Mori, interviewed on the Daily Politics, says the televised election debates are "almost certain" to happen. He says voters aren't particularly bothered, "to be honest", about the to-and-fro over their exact format which is getting Westminster types so worked up. But he accepts David Cameron is doing well in negotiating to ensure the debates that suit him best.

     
  23.  
    13:03: 'One of the first' House of Commons Parliament

    Labour's David Winnick says Walsall Manor Hospital was "one of the first to declare a major incident" over demand in its A&E department. The Walsall North MP calls on the health secretary not to "minimise" the problems.

     
  24.  
    13:02: Ammunition for Labour Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith says the fact the NHS document at the centre of today's exchanges refers to local politics and the media will give Labour ammunition with which to maintain their claims that hospitals are being put under political pressure to avoid calling major incidents.

     
  25.  
    13:00: Breaking News Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    The former leader of Plaid Cymru has compared the Trident base on the Clyde to Auschwitz in an interview with the BBC. Lord Wigley's comments come the day after events across Europe to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps.

    Asked about a report that the Trident base could be moved to Wales, Lord Wigley said: "No doubt there were many jobs provided in Auschwitz and places like that but that didn't justify their existence and neither does nuclear weapons justify having them in Pembrokeshire."He is currently Plaid Cymru's general election coordinator.

    (You can listen to the interview on BBC Radio 4's World at One, via the Live Coverage tab on this page.)

     
  26.  
    12:59: Women in politics Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    With a pic of New Labour's 'Blair babes' in the background, the Daily Politics is now looking at the issue of getting more women into Parliament. As Caroline Flint points out, Labour has more women MPs and ethnic minority MPs than all the other parties put together. But she adds: "There was positive discrimination going in favour of men in my party and in other parties for many, many years." David Willetts accepts the Conservatives "need to make more progress" - but says he hopes there will be many more Tory women in Parliament after the election.

    Daily Politics on women in politics
     
  27.  
    12:58: 'Not seen that way' House of Commons Parliament

    Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, says that Jeremy Hunt's argument that the decision to declare a major incident is purely operational "is not seen that way on the ground". Mr Hunt insists that the decision "must be taken locally".

     
  28.  
    @bbcnickrobinson Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor

    tweets: Real NHS story is not who said what about it but who will do what to strengthen an NHS under real pressure in future #pmqs

     
  29.  
    12:53: In Pictures: Prime Minister's Questions
    PMQs
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    PMQs
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  30.  
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  31.  
    12:53: Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith says: "If anyone was in any doubt that the NHS was the top issue in the campaign currently, they just need to look at today's PMQs and following Emergency Question." Earlier this week a BBC/Populus poll suggested that people think the NHS is the most important issue to be covered by the news ahead of the election. The NHS came ahead of the economy, immigration, welfare and jobs.

     
  32.  
    12:50: 'Leaning from on high' House of Commons Parliament

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  33.  
    12:47: 'A new low' House of Commons Parliament

    Jeremy Hunt says that Labour's "desperate desire to weaponise the NHS" means the opposition has reached "a new low". He accuses Labour of "focusing not on patients but on politics".

     
  34.  
    12:45: 'Called into question' House of Commons Parliament

    Andy Burnham says the NHS guidance he has seen means "the claims that this is purely local is called into question right now".

     
  35.  
    12:45: Keeping the backbenchers happy James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    James Landale says Conservative MPs will be "relatively happy" with the PM's performance because he has "muddied the waters" on the NHS. "It was interesting the prime minister didn't directly refer to Alan Milburn, the former Labour health secretary's criticisms - he chose not to get into that debate. Instead he focused on the phrase 'weaponise' and on Wales again and again. As long as the Tories feel they have something to say about the issue, they'll probably be content."

     
  36.  
    13:17: Pienaar's verdict BBC Radio 5 live

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  37.  
    12:44: Andy Burnham urgent question House of Commons Parliament

    Andy Burnham says Mr Hunt's claim "does not appear to be entirely accurate". The shadow health secretary claims that "major incidents should be agreed with the director on call with NHS England".

     
  38.  
    12:41: 'Local issue' House of Commons Parliament

    MPs can use urgent questions to require a minister to make a statement to the House at short notice. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says: "We have been brought here to discuss a local operational issue" which, he claims, Labour is trying to "spin". He adds: "The decision to declare a major incident is taken locally."

     
  39.  
    12:39: Commemoration service House of Commons Parliament

    David Cameron says the special commemorative event will be held at St Paul's Cathedral on 13 March to mark the end of British combat operations in Afghanistan.

     
  40.  
    12:39: Urgent question on the NHS House of Commons Parliament

    PMQs ends and now shadow health secretary Andy Burnham puts an urgent question to the government. He asks Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to make a statement on what guidance has been issued by NHS England on declaring a major incident.

     
  41.  
    @robindbrant Robin Brant, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: .@David_Cameron reveals there will be a special service at St Pauls and parade in March to mark end of UK military role in Afghanis

     
  42.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, PoliticsHome editor

    tweets: Cameron in supremely confident mood. Now even getting gag out of his chat with Greek PM: "I asked him what his long term economic plan was"

     
  43.  
    12:38: Greece's new PM House of Commons Parliament

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  44.  
    @anntreneman Ann Treneman, political sketchwriter

    tweets: Dave's voice is going on strike I think. This makes me wonder if Dave's frog in his throat is labour supporting

     
  45.  
    12:33: Trident 'not moving'

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  46.  
    12:33: House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MPs cheer the mention of the party's "long-term economic plan" catchphrase by Lancashire and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who asks about support for coastal communities.

     
  47.  
    @ShippersUnbound Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor

    Tweets: In the House that felt like 4-2 to Cameron. On television I suspect it was 4-2 to Miliband. So I'm going 3-3. More hot air than light

     
  48.  
    12:29: Hinchingbrooke hospital House of Commons Parliament

    Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert raises the privately-run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Mr Cameron says Labour is in confusion over the extent of private sector involvement in the NHS.

     
  49.  
    @nicholaswatt Nicholas Watt, Guardian chief political correspondent

    Tweets: Will @David_Cameron's voice last till end of PMQs

     
  50.  
    12:27: A whisper in Cameron's ear House of Commons Parliament

    George Osborne has a habit of whispering advice to the prime minister as questions are asked, and this week is no exception. He's leaned forward, unlike every other Cabinet frontbencher, throughout these exchanges so he can get past Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers to give Cameron hints.

    David Cameron answers questions at PMQs - with help from George Osborne
     
  51.  
    Vicki Young, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Felt like both Cameron and Miliband went off script at #PMQs as they yelled at each other about NHS. Cam's voice croaky from shouting

     
  52.  
    12:25: Skinner on food banks House of Commons Parliament

    Labour veteran Dennis Skinner asks David Cameron to apologise to people using food banks, on "zero hours" contracts and using payday loans. Mr Cameron says the government has acted on food banks and zero hours contracts, and uses the question to mention criticism of Labour election tactics from former Labour ministers Alan Milburn and John Hutton in this morning's papers.

     
  53.  
    @bbcnickrobinson Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor

    tweets: Small irony. Watching from my sickbed as PM tries to shield himself on NHS by quoting my "weaponise" report. Time for an aspirin! :) #pmqs

     
  54.  
    @MSmithsonPB Mike Smithson, Political Betting

    Tweets: Today's #PMQs is the best argument against having TV debates. This is dire.

     
  55.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor

    Tweets; Miliband let Cameron off the hook for breaking promises by shutting NHS units. Won't keep that #pmqs in his video highlights

     
  56.  
    @thomasbrake Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP

    tweets: #pmqs nhs centre stage. All that was missing was a reference to #savesthelier.

     
  57.  
    @andybell5news Andy Bell, Channel 5 News political editor

    tweets: Win for Cameron - Miiband failed to make new #NHS attack stick after NHS England shot it down - also still vulnerable on the w word

     
  58.  
    12:19: Stuck in the middle? House of Commons Parliament

    Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert is next up after the prime minister's tussle with Ed Miliband. He invokes Stealers Wheel hit Stuck in the Middle with You, saying there are "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right".

     
  59.  
    Robin Brant, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Did I just hear correctly, @Ed_Miliband accused PM of having a 'war on wales' ?

     
  60.  
    12:17: Leaders clash House of Commons Parliament

    More angry exchanges between the leaders. After David Cameron calls the Opposition "completely useless", Mr Milband says there are "99 days to kick out a prime minister who has broken all his promises on the NHS".

     
  61.  
    @iainmartin1 Iain Martin, political journalist

    Even by the standards of #PMQs this is dire.

     
  62.  
    @ShippersUnbound 12:16: Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor

    Tweets: Michael Gove doing a good impersonation of the Churchill dog, nodding judiciously as Dave speaks

     
  63.  
    @DavidJonesMP 12:15: David Jones, Conservative MP

    tweets: Remarkably, Miliband raises Welsh NHS; silly, silly.

     
  64.  
    @tombradby Tom Bradby, ITV News political editor

    Tweets: Ed is normally pretty good at PMQs, but he looks a bit flustered today. This issue over the word 'weaponise' is tricky.

     
  65.  
    12:14: Miliband v Cameron House of Commons Parliament

    David Cameron is now questioning Ed Miliband's motives about the NHS. "He told the political editor of the BBC he wants to weaponise the NHS, so I ask him again: get up there and withdraw." Miliband responds - "I'll tell him what my motive is: it's to rescue the National Health Service from this Tory government."

     
  66.  
    12:12: Picture: Ed Miliband asking question
    Ed Miliband in the Commons
     
  67.  
    12:13: House of Commons Parliament

    Now we're on to this morning's story about "major incidents" being declared by NHS trusts. Mr Cameron says the new guidance on when one can be declared was issued by the NHS in the West Midlands, "without any instruction" from ministers or the Department of Health.

     
  68.  
    12:10: Miliband v Cameron House of Commons Parliament

    Ed Miliband is asking about David Cameron's "bare knuckle fight" to preserve A&E and maternity units. The PM responds by returning to the Labour leader's comment - to BBC political editor Nick Robinson - about wanting to "weaponise" the NHS. He demands an apology, Mr Miliband says it is a "ridiculous smokescreen".

     
  69.  
    @iainjwatson Iain Watson, BBC political correspondent

    Tweets: No surprise that Ed Miliband goes on the #NHS consistently top of voters concerns according to polls

     
  70.  
    12:09: Picture: Ed Miliband House of Commons Parliament
    Ed Miliband
     
  71.  
    12:08: Cigarette packaging Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman has refused to say directly if David Cameron supports moves to bring it in The government has pledged to give MPs a vote on new regulations before the election. Asked if the PM was concerned about the prospect of a rebellion by some of his own MPs the spokesman said: "The right thing to do is to proceed as the government has set out for some considerable time."

     
  72.  
    12:06: Labour's Eds listen to first answer
    Ed Balls and Ed Miliband
     
  73.  
    12:06: NHS at PMQs House of Commons Parliament

    The NHS gets its first PMQs mention in question two, from Labour MP Lilian Greenwood who suggests the health service is not a priority for David Cameron. The PM says the government has invested in the NHS and attacks Labour's record in Wales.

     
  74.  
    @MartynExpress Martyn Brown, Daily Express political correspondent

    Tweets: Women on front bench - Tories 8 v Labour 8 #pmqs

     
  75.  
    12:05: Picture: Cameron takes first question
    David Cameron
     
  76.  
    12:04: Picture: Frank Field House of Commons Parliament
    Frank Field Labour MP Frank Field asks when the Chilcot inquiry report will be published
     
  77.  
    12:04: PMQs under way

    Labour MP Frank Field gets Prime Minister's Questions up and running, asking about delays to the Iraq War inquiry. David Cameron says he too is frustrated at the timing.

     
  78.  
    12:04: UKIP defector James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    James Landale says most voters won't be too bothered by the negative stories emerging about Amjad Bashir, the former UKIP MEP who has defected to the Tories. He says: "As ever with defections, they are never as clean as political parties would like. The problem for UKIP is that most voters are less aware of the detail that goes on underneath."

     
  79.  
    @nedsimons 12:03: Ned Simons, Huffington Post UK assistant political editor

    Tweets: Can't wait for Miliband and Cameron to shout NHS statistics at each other for ten minutes. #PMQs

     
  80.  
    12:01: Miliband's only PMQs option: The NHS James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    James Landale on the Daily Politics says he thinks the Labour leader will focus all six of his questions on the NHS. "I would be amazed if Ed Miliband doesn't go on health - that's his subject of the week, he has to go on it. "

     
  81.  
    12:00: Immigration target Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Earlier on Daily Politics David Willetts was pressed by Andrew Neil to accept that the Conservatives have failed on immigration. Ministers had sought to cut net migration below 100,000. Mr Willetts suggested a Tory-only government might have made more progress, saying: "We had a commitment in our manifesto which was not part of the coalition agreement and therefore not the basis on which the government was to act."

     
  82.  
    12:00: NHS England BBC News Channel

    Dr Barbara Hakin, national director of commissioning operations for NHS England, says: "Local hospitals continue to have responsibility for deciding whether to declare major incidents, but before doing so best practice dictates that they take account of the wider impacts on other parts of the NHS so that patient safety in the round is protected. That's why NHS England's local area team in the West Midlands decided to issue these guidelines. This was not a decision of the Department of Health."

     
  83.  
    12:00: Major NHS incidents BBC Radio 5 live

    John Pienaar tells 5Live that Guidance to NHS Trusts on declaring a major incident will surely feature during PMQs

     
  84.  
    11:57: EU-US trade deal

    Trade minister Lord Livingston is facing questioning about the EU-US trade deal which many fear could reduce Britain's control over the NHS. Around 150,000 people responded to a recent EU consultation on the issue voicing their concerns, most of them negative. But Lord Livingston, a strong supporter of the deal, is not concerned. "Ninety-seven per cent of the responses were standard," he says. "I'm not entirely sure that represents the totality of everyone's views. However, it's important we recognise everyone's concerns."

     
  85.  
    11:55: 'No-go areas' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Quentin Letts, the Daily Mail sketchwriter, is on BBC Two's Daily Politics talking about the issues the political parties would rather steer clear of. Neither the Conservatives nor Labour want to discuss Trident, he claims, while the Liberal Democrats are keen to avoid talking about anything connected with tuition fees. "There are issues that are of great interest to the voters, and yet the politicians are shying away from it," Letts says. "It's totally unsustainable, particularly with such a long election campaign."

     
  86.  
    11:52: 'Responsibility of the government' House of Commons Parliament

    Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis cautions MPs on the government side about "believing everything that you read in the Sun" concerning alleged contacts between Labour and Sinn Fein.

    Conservative Andrew Robathan had suggested that Labour should speak to Sinn Fein about security in Northern Ireland.

    Mr Lewis says that Conservatives are asking that "the Labour party take responsibility for things that are clearly the responsibility of the government".

     
  87.  
    11:46: Daily Politics line-up

    Joining Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn on Daily Politics are ex-Conservative minister David Willetts and Labour's shadow minister Caroline Flint. They are discussing the suggestion that up to 100 Conservative MPs might oppose the plan to bring in standardised (plain) cigarette packaging.

    Daily Politics
     
  88.  
    11:42: Labour and Sinn Fein House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MP Andrew Robathan asks about a story, reported in the Sun, that "the Labour party have been talking to Sinn Fein about a possible link-up after the election".

    A cry of "absolute rubbish!" is heard from the Labour benches.

     
  89.  
    11:38: Northern Ireland questions House of Commons Parliament

    Northern Ireland questions have begun in the Commons. The first question is from Labour MP Tom Greatrex, about the the security situation in Northern Ireland. NI Secretary Theresa Villiers tells him the threat level remains "severe" but there have been "a number of significant arrests, charges and convictions".

     
  90.  
    @EmmaReynoldsMP 11:32: Emma Reynolds, shadow housing minister

    tweets: Since 2010 we have been building 356 fewer homes than we need - Gov't is presiding over the lowest level of house building since 1920s.

     
  91.  
    11:24: 'Trojan horse' plot

    Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw has called on the Department for Education to do more to help schools involved in the alleged "Trojan horse" plot in Birmingham to recruit more good staff. "There are big problems about leadership and staffing, in recruiting people," Sir Michael says.

    Sir Michael Wilshaw
     
  92.  
    11:23: Commons questions House of Commons Parliament

    MPs will meet in the House of Commons in a few minutes' time.

    Prime Minister's Questions is at noon and Labour's urgent question on the NHS will follow.

    First, Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers will take questions from MPs. That's from 11:30 GMT.

     
  93.  
    11:14: Ambulance times 'worst on record'

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's tweets refer to the story emerging from Wales today that its ambulance response times are the worst ever. Just 42.6% of call-outs met the eight-minute target time in December, well below the 65% target. Tracy Myhill, interim chief executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, has conceded the figures are "unacceptable" - but also points out the 40,000 calls received that month are a record high.

    Ambulances at a hospital The Welsh Ambulance Service has said it was working to address underlying issues
     
  94.  
    11:11: Urgent question

    We'll be hearing plenty more about hospitals' "major incidents" in the House of Commons today. Labour's Andy Burnham has just been granted an urgent question on today's developments, which will follow PMQs. Will Ed Miliband choose the same subject for his clash with David Cameron?

     
  95.  
    11:10: Strike news

    The PCS union says workers at the National Gallery in London are to stage a five-day strike in a row over the privatisation of services.

    National Gallery staff protest
     
  96.  
    11:04: Hunt hits back

    More from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has responded to Labour criticism over revised guidance on when some hospitals can call a "major incident". In a series of tweets, he says a local decision taken in the West Midlands has been "cynically exploited" by Labour's Andy Burnham and criticises the NHS in Wales, for which Labour is responsible.

    Jeremy Hunt tweets
     
  97.  
    Sebastian Payne, The Spectator

    tweets: I'm going to be covering #GE2015 for @spectator in a Mini. Track my progress at http://specc.ie/1CcLE4b #MiniElection

    Sebastian Payne
     
  98.  
    10:55: Trident staying put

    A Ministry of Defence spokesman denies a report in the Daily Mail that officials are examining plans to move the Trident nuclear fleet from Scotland to Wales.

    The spokesman says: "The Ministry of Defence is not doing any work on this. There are no plans to move the deterrent."

    Trident
     
  99.  
    10:52: Ofsted under scrutiny

    MPs continue to press Sir Michael Wilshaw - they want to know whether allegations that inspectors asked children inappropriate questions about sexuality and faith are true. He's insisting that, having "looked at the evidence base thoroughly", there is "no evidence to suggest inspectors used inappropriate language to these children". What the inspectors were trying to establish, he explains, is whether homophobic bullying was taking place. So they had to use direct language in order to establish this.

     
  100.  
    @Jeremy_Hunt Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

    tweets: Labour should focus on improving care for patients in Wales instead of trying to score political points in England.

     

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