New Forest East


[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ben Gummer):  ... All I will say is that the strike would be more easily averted if Her Majesty’s Opposition were to condemn it absolutely. If they do not, all that says is that Her Majesty’s Opposition are in thrall to the militants within the unions and are putting decent members of the Labour Party in an impossible position.

Several hon. Members rose –

Mr Speaker: There is much interest. I will start by calling not a medical doctor, but a generally brainy bloke, Dr Julian Lewis.]

Dr Julian Lewis: I am greatly obliged, Mr Speaker, as always. Will the Minister tell me whether, having quite rightly balloted its members on general strike action, the BMA has balloted the junior doctors on the withdrawal of emergency care?

[Ben Gummer: My right hon. Friend raises an important point. I believe that the legality of the action is correct and that the BMA is within its rights to do as it is doing, but that does not change whether it is right or wrong. Many junior doctors who may have supported the BMA in the withdrawal of elective care will be profoundly worried about that escalation.]