Tory MP embarrassingly shut down when trying to justify nursing pay

Full exchange: Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak clash over NHS nurses strike

A Tory MP was shut down during a TV interview after making the case against pay rises for nurses.

The Health Minister Maria Caulfield was speaking to Sky News host Niall Paterson on Thursday morning (December 15).

Nurses across England, Northern Ireland and Wales are on strike today as the NHS faces unprecedented levels of industrial action over pay.

The debate follows the latest breakdown in talks between the UK Government and the Royal College of Nursing – which is calling for a 19.2 per cent pay rise that the Government has said is unaffordable.

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Speaking on Sky News, Caulfield said: “For every one per cent we agree for the nurses, or for anyone else in fact, that’s around £700 million that we have to find.

“As a government there’s only three ways we can find that money: we either have to borrow it, and we know the impact of borrowing when governments can’t afford it, we saw that just a few weeks ago. You either have to put taxes up for patients and residents…”

Niall Paterson then interjected and said: “Or not waste £30 billion on useless PPE.”

It comes following news that Labour will try to force the Government to release records relating to the “murky” award of Covid personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts to a company linked to a Conservative peer.

Reports have suggested that Baroness Michelle Mone may have profited from PPE Medpro winning public contracts worth more than £200 million to supply equipment after she recommended it to ministers in the early days of the pandemic.

Caulfield also said during the interview that "patients will suffer" and "health outcomes may diminish" as a result of the strikes, saying it "is going to have an impact when the system is already struggling to get through the Covid backlog."

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