Cameron tells Blair: it's time to go
CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron has piled the pressure on Tony Blair over his future as Prime Minister today, telling him during this lunchtime's PMQ's that he should “go, and go soon.
By Graham Dines
CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron has piled the pressure on Tony Blair over his future as Prime Minister today, telling him during this lunchtime's PMQ's that he should “go, and go soon.”
Mr Cameron, stoking up the febrile atmosphere in the Commons, said there was a crisis in the NHS, the Home Office and the criminal justice system, and the Government would be paralysed' until Mr Blair set out his timetable for departure.
Although Mr Blair acknowledged the Government had been through a difficult time, he insisted the voters would judge the parties on the success of their policies, and not the identity of their leaders.
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Mr Cameron was not deterred. “"If he sets a timetable for leaving, he has told us there will be paralysis, but if he refuses to set a timetable, his Government will remain paralysed.”
Launching his assault, Mr Cameron said: “Three weeks ago I asked you about the crisis in children's hospitals. You said everything was fine. So can you explain why the minister responsible for hospitals has resigned?”
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Mr Blair replied: “The minister for hospitals has certainly not resigned, as far as I'm aware, in respect of anything to do with children's hospitals.
“You did indeed ask about the position of children's hospitals. I explained there were issues in respect of the payment by results tariff for children's hospitals. There are discussions continuing between the hospitals that wrote to us and the Department of Health. I hope those discussions will result in a satisfactory conclusion.”
Mr Cameron insisted former Health Minister Jane Kennedy “was the hospitals minister and she has resigned. I know things are bad but you ought to know who's actually in your Government,”' he added to Tory laughter. “She said the Government's reforms had resulted in the crisis at Alder Hey and her attempts to speak out had been over-ruled by No 10.”
On foreign criminals, Mr Cameron said: “Last week I asked about dangerous foreign criminals who were released instead of deported. We were told that in terms of those who had committed serious offences, there were 79. Then we were told there were 90. This week we're told there are 150. Can you guarantee the number won't go up again?”
Mr Blair replied: “The reason why the number has gone up is simply because as the police investigate each one of these cases, then the details of those cases change.
“Of the thousand foreign national prisoners that were part of the backlog that had built up over a considerable period of time, three quarters of the cases have now been considered.
“"There have been almost 600 deportation orders given. There have been round about 30 deportations already underway and there is 126 of those people in detention.”