UK Politics

Prime Minister's Questions: The key bits and the verdict

Theresa May Image copyright House of Commons

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have gone head-to-head at Prime Minister's Questions. What happened?

Boris Johnson handed Jeremy Corbyn a gift on Tuesday when he called for extra funding for the NHS - and the Labour leader took it with both hands.

The foreign secretary was reported to have demanded an extra £5bn a year for the health service in England. This is the same figure Labour has been calling for.

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Media captionDoes PM agree with Boris Johnson over NHS cash?

Theresa May said the NHS had been given £6bn extra in November's Budget - but that was dubbed "thin gruel" by the Labour leader as it would be spread over three years. He quoted a letter signed 68 senior A&E doctors, who said people were dying prematurely.

Mrs May went to her favourite place whenever she is in a corner on the NHS - Wales, where Labour runs the health service.

The exchanges threatened to degenerate into a re-run of many previous Commons clashes between the two leaders on this subject.

Mr Corbyn raised some troubling cases - including that of Chris, whose 94-year-old grandfather had to wait four hours for an ambulance and a whistleblower who claimed 80 patients had died waiting in an ambulance in a three week period. Mrs May said it was about more than money and quoted statistics suggesting the NHS was not in crisis.

The Labour leader, his voice rising, claimed Mrs May was "in denial" about the state of the NHS in England, asking her "when is she going to face up to reality and take action to save the NHS from death by a thousand cuts?". Mrs May went back to Wales.

What else came up?

The SNP's leader at Westminster Iain Blackford returned to a recently favoured subject - bank closures, something he has brought up on two previous occasions. He wants the prime minister to force Royal Bank of Scotland to halt closures. Mrs May gave him the same answer as before.

Conservative MP Chris Green asked about voter fraud.

Smear tests

The prime minister said the government would look at calls to make smear tests available on the NHS to women under 25 - and urged those who do qualify to get tested even though "I know it is not a comfortable thing to do".

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Media captionLabour's Julie Elliott raised a campaign with Theresa May during PMQs

Look who's back at PMQs

Former First Secretary of State Damian Green - who used to stand in for Theresa May at PMQs before she sacked him - asked a question from the back benches.

He called for a new Thames crossing between Kent and Essex and took a little dig at Boris Johnson and his Channel bridge idea, saying "proposals for new bridges are fashionable at the moment".

Backing for Tessa Jowell

The prime minister and the speaker also paid tribute to former Labour minister Tessa Jowell, who has spoken about living with brain cancer, after an emotional question from Labour's Sarah Jones. Mrs May said everyone will be "encouraged by the positive approach" of Baroness Jowell.

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Media captionTributes to 'relentlessly positive' Tessa Jowell

Here's the BBC interview with Baroness Jowell:

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Media captionTessa Jowell opens up about living with brain cancer

The Verdict

Here's what Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil made of it:

And here is BBC Parliamentary correspondent Mark D'Arcy's verdict:

Jeremy Corbyn sort of won that. The Labour leader had some well prepared questions and evoked the horrible scenes of distressed patients that appeared on the news earlier this week. The prime minister parried his complaints with statistics - so it was a match between passion and figures. And passion won.

Mr Corbyn did not propose solutions beyond calling for more money to be spent, but the manner of the PM's response left her vulnerable to his charge that she is "in denial" about the state of the NHS. She was much better, because she was much more spontaneous, when she was asked about restrictions on the availability of smear tests.

The foreign secretary wasn't there. Perhaps it was just as well. The mockery of his Channel bridge proposal, and the Opposition's gleeful support of his call for a cash injection for the NHS would have made for an uncomfortable 45 minutes on the front bench. And the attacks he prompted will not stop with this question time….

Oh and Education Minister Anne Milton's performance answering an Urgent Question on the President's Club "charity dinner" suggests the government has found a new front bench star.

Her light was hidden under a bushel while she was deputy chief whip, but she gave a masterclass in how to answer a difficult question in a way that was personal, passionate and effective… the PM should take a moment to watch and learn.

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