When David Cameron asked about whether Tony Blair still backed Gordon Brown as his successor the Speaker intervened and ruled the question out of order. Admitting that he had allowed the question once before (here) he said that the Prime Minister only had a responsibility to answer on Government business rather than Labour’s internal affairs: "The Prime Minister is here to talk about the business of Government … Who will be the next leader of the Labour Party is for the Labour Party."
The episode will only reinforce Tory suspicions that the Speaker is too friendly towards his former party and David Cameron refused to surrender meekly. The Conservative leader requested a clarification from Michael Martin that he could ask about the Prime Ministerial succession. Eventually given permission to respond to David Cameron’s reframed question – Who would the Prime Minister like to see as the next Prime Minister? – Tony Blair listed Gordon Brown’s ‘achievements’ as Chancellor and to loud cheers from his own backbenchers said that that record was preferable to advising Norman Lamont on Black Wednesday.
Earlier in PMQs David Cameron had drawn attention to deficits, cuts and low morale in the
NHS. He quoted concerns from the Chief Medical Officer Chairman, the
BMA and Sir Derek Wanless about NHS performance. Tony Blair listed the ‘improvements’ in the NHS since Labour came to power. Top-down targets and bungled reorganisations were the real reasons why the NHS was in crisis, the Tory leader concluded.
Ming Campbell asked about the Iraq enquiry.