Rishi Sunak was in autobiographical mode. He lost no time in confessing to the House that he is “registered with an NHS doctor”, “has used independent health care in the past”, and is “proud to come from an NHS family”.
We do not know who the Prime Minister’s ghost writer is, but we have to say these revelations left the House unmoved.
Some of us recalled that his predecessor but one, Boris Johnson, was not registered with any doctor, NHS or private, until almost killed by Covid.
So Sunak can be said to be more prudent than Johnson, and to have established a defensive line against accusations that because he does not use the NHS he does not care about it.
Sir Keir Starmer was in self-righteous mode: “Mr Speaker, when I clapped nurses I meant it.”
One of Sunak’s qualifications for being Prime Minister is that he does not look nervous when disparaged, but demonstrates that he can fight his corner.
So today he wondered what Starmer’s principles are, suggested “they seem to change”, and declared: “He’s inconsistent, unprincipled and in hock to the unions.”
Stephen Flynn, for Scots Nats, tried to whip up resentment against Tories “feathering their nest” by pointing out that Johnson had “raked in in excess of a million pounds” from four speeches.
Sunak retorted that “I don’t think we need to talk about our predecessors”, before remarking that one of Flynn’s predecessors “did indeed work for Russia Today”.
Again an inglorious exchange, but one which showed Sunak’s indispensable capacity for counter-attack.