One quick addition: When Hunt said a trade union should not “veto” a manifesto promise the British people want, he was correct. But that’s not what is happening here.
Firstly, only a minority of the British electorate voted for the Conservative Party – less than a quarter – so it is vastly overstating the case to suggest that the British people voted for the manifesto promise he mentions.
Second, what was the promise, exactly? It was to provide a seven-day-a-week NHS by 2020. Doctors striking now won’t “veto” that promise. In fact, negotiating with the doctors is likely to make that outcome more likely.
But Jeremy Hunt won’t get what he wants by smirking while he lies to us all about what he is doing.
Jeremy Hunt has been accused of “reveling” in taking on junior doctors ahead of a planned two-day NHS strike rather than seeking a solution.
Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner told the health secretary he had a “smirk and arrogance” about him that “almost betrays the fact that he is delighted” in the conflict.
Speaking in the Commons, Skinner said Hunt should restart talks today to resolve the dispute and “wipe that smirk off his face” and “get down to some serious negotiations”.
“He comes in here to try and blame the Opposition for what’s taking place. This strike can only be caused by two sides. One are the junior hospital doctors and the other side is the government.
“He is almost giving the impression that he is reveling in standing up to the junior hospital doctors. Start negotiating now and sort the matter out.”
Hunt used his appearance in the Commons to appeal directly to junior doctors not to take strike action that will see them stop offering emergency care for the first time ever.
“No trade union has a right to veto a manifesto promise voted for by the British people,” he said.
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