Politics

Who won today's PMQs? Keir Starmer says Rishi Sunak and Tories have 'broken the NHS'

Starmer says Tories have gone from 'clapping the nurses to sacking the …

Cometh the new year, cometh the first session of PMQs.

After a relaxing (maybe) Christmas which saw prime minister Rishi Sunak spared from the acerbic tongue of opposition leader Keir Starmer, the political pair returned to the House of Commons for their first barney of 2023.

The head-to-head saw Starmer challenge the PM on ongoing strikes across a number of industries and ongoing issues within the NHS.

So who came up on top? And who headed off on their lunch breaking licking their wounds?

Here's what happened:

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Starmer: "When I clapped nurses I meant it," 7/10

With regards to nurses' strikes and new laws proposed to minimise further disruption, the leader of the opposition kicked things off by implying Tory support for healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic was somewhat hollow.

He positioned himself as completely different – a champion of the NHS – and later added that the Tories have "gone from clapping the nurses to sacking the nurses".

Sunak: Labour's NHS plans will "cost a fortune and are out of date - just like the Labour Party", 6/10

A rattled Sunak responded by forgetting that PMQs are a chance for the opposition to scrutinise the government, not the other way round, and resorted to this very weak jab about the Labour party being out of date.

So out of date that they've been leading in the polls for months...

Starmer: "You scratch the surface and you find that there is nothing there," 8/10

Things then got personal quickly, and speaking about his counterpart, Starmer said there was "nothing" beyond Sunak's "surface". He's sustained that line of criticism since Sunak became the PM and the idea that the PM doesn't stand for much is starting to stick.

Sunak: "If we listened to him we'd still be in lockdown," 0/10

So much so that, in response, Sunak lost the plot and accused Starmer of still supporting lockdown, a policy the Labour leader very much is not proposing and hasn't been since we dropped all Covid rules almost an entire year ago.

Sunak's old boss Boris Johnson used to throw this attack out when he was coping with his own PMQs session but the difference is that we were then in a pandemic, and now we are not. Can someone urgently brief Sunak on basic current events?

Starmer: "They've broken the NHS," 6/10

Starmer was not drawn on this nonsense and instead blamed the Tories for issues in the NHS. His language was powerful and will evoke the emotions of angry voters struggling to book GP appointments and get the healthcare they urgently need.

Sunak: "He's focussed on petty politics, I'm delivering for Britain," 3/10

Having been incredibly petty for the whole proceedings, Sunak then had the gall to accuse Starmer of the same and, showing extreme delusions of ego and grandeur, claimed he was "delivering for Britain".

Mate, given postal workers went on strike because of rubbish pay, NO-ONE is delivering for Britain.

Verdict

All we can really say is Sunak clearly didn't spend the Christmas period rehashing his offensive skills.

Instead of putting the "new" in "new year", the PM didn't only rely on his old lines, but Johnson's old lines; banging on about lockdown and making cheap digs about the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, Starmer positioned himself as someone committed to protecting the NHS and managed to find a way to pepper in stats about Labour's brilliant record on the NHS when they were last in power at every turn, turning the session into a successful election campaign for his party.

Maybe Sunak needs another Christmas break...

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