James Forsyth

Starmer made life difficult for Boris at PMQs

Starmer made life difficult for Boris at PMQs
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Keir Starmer had his most effective parliamentary outing in some time today. The Labour leader not only picked the right topic, nurses pay, but asked short, pithy questions which made it harder for Boris Johnson to change the subject. 

Starmer landed a few blows with some cheap but effective comparisons of what nurses were getting compared to other bits of government spending. With elections coming in two months' time, Labour will be happy to run with this issue. The only protection that the Tories have on it is to say that the independent pay review body will, ultimately, make a recommendation.

Starmer’s performance could, though, have been even more effective. Johnson claimed that Labour had voted against the NHS plan, which included a 2.1 per cent rise for nurses. But as Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said in a point of order straight afterwards, this was not true: the House had not divided on it. If Starmer had picked Johnson up on that, it would have made things even more uncomfortable for the Prime Minister.