Starmer made life difficult for Boris at PMQs

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.

Why NHS workers shouldn’t get a pay rise

The Government in the person of Rishi Sunak won a surprisingly positive public response to what was essentially a tax-raising Budget this week. Within 24 hours though, the same government had spectacularly lost the PR contest by recommending a 1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff across the board. The outcry was universal: mean, measly, an insult, a slap in the face, not a way to treat ‘our heroes’ – or, more personally, those who saved the Prime Minister’s life. The rise – and it is currently just a recommendation to the NHS pay review body – is indeed a mistake. In fact, it is a double mistake, but

Helen Whately is right about student nurses

Helen Whately, the care minister, is being tarred and feathered. She wrote a letter to an MP about student nurses, saying they are ‘supernumerary and not deemed to be providing a service’. The outpouring of fury online and, sadly, from some traditional media outlets provides an object lesson in all that’s wrong with the way Britain debates politics and government in the era of Twitter. Whately’s comments should not be ‘controversial’ or even newsworthy, because she said nothing wrong. Student nurses are indeed ‘supernumerary’, which means that they are not counted towards the total of nursing staff in the NHS. This is not just sensible, it’s something recognised and demanded