He said that Gordon Brown’s "non-election tour" was bad for Britain. Given that the "Prime Minister non-elect" was not going to face a challenge he should become Prime Minister immediately. The circumstances had changed since the Labour Party had chosen a seven week leadership campaign and now Tony Blair’s departure date should change, too. It was "bad for Britain" that lame duck ministers like Patricia Hewitt were staying in position while the NHS was facing such difficult circumstances. It was a farce he said that Tony Blair – because of vanity – would be representing Britain at global summits when all other leaders really wanted to sit down and get the measure of Gordon Brown.
Standing alongside Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley he went on to propose a seven point emergency plan for the NHS:
- An immediate end to the closures of A&E and maternity services that were being driven by short-term financial considerations rather than long-term clinical considerations;
- More training posts for junior doctors;
- An independent review of the NHS supercomputer debacle;
- Re-engagement of GPs with the Department of Health for discussing the future of contracts;
- Abolish central targets that undermine the professionalism of frontline doctors;
- A new fairer funding mechanism that recognises the distribution of disease and clinical need;
- Acceptance of House of Lords amendments to the Mental Health Bill.
Then the questions from the press started and 13 of 17 were about education and grammar schools, in particular. Nothing much new was learnt with Mr Cameron continuing to insist that the debate was "pointless". He slightly dodged a question from Nick Robinson in which the BBC Political Editor asked if any frontbencher had threatened to resign. Mr Cameron replied by saying that no shadow cabinet member had threatened to quit. He also said that he had not spoken to Michael Howard since the beginning of the row.
Other interesting answers to questions:
- There were no plans to restore the assisted places scheme;
- He would be visiting America soon but had no plans to visit President Bush – it was better that Britain was America’s best friend (and was candid) rather than acting like America newest friend (and too eager to ingratiate itself);
- He personally opposed the David MacLean bill.
David Cameron’s performance was flawless – perfectly articulate and controlled.