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After a passionate discussion between panel members on the future of the NHS, the final question of the evening proved to be the most controversial, sparking a furious backlash against Tory MP Margot James who desperately attempted to defend her party amid impassioned cries from the audience, which including several NHS nurses, accusing the Tory MP of being a liar.
After a discussion between the panel about the numerous Tory failures in the NHS, an audience member had initially asked the Tory MP:
What I don’t understand is that there’s so much public support to put more money into our NHS; to pay our nurses more; to support our nurses, and reinstall the bursary program. Because if you’re going to be a nurse, and you’re going to qualify earning less than £30,000 a year, but you ended up in so much debt with such high interest rates to pay, why would you do it? It doesn’t make any sense.
Before adding a statement that elicited rapturous applause from the assembled Question Time audience:
And I wonder if the Conservative government that we have is ideologically underfunding the NHS to make the argument for privatisation.
The audience erupted in applause and cheering, leading Tory MP Margot James to open her reply by saying:
I’m very sorry there’s such enthusiasm for what you’ve said because it’s utterly untrue.
It was a statement which prompted cries of ‘rubbish’ and ‘liar’ from the impassioned audience, before Margot James replied directly to the numerous hecklers, saying:
I’ve been accused of wanting to set the NHS up to fail so we can privatise it – nothing could be further from the truth.
The audience again erupted with anger, with yet more cries accusing the the Tory MP of distorting reality, before Ms James responded meekly, stating:
No, I’m not a liar. I have spent time volunteering in the NHS over 4 or 5 years.
I am not a liar. I believe in the NHS.
AND SO DOES MY GOVERNMENT!
Failing to understand she was speaking to an audience who were heavily represented by NHS staff members working on the front line and seeing the devastating consequences of the Tories’ policies, Ms James then proceeded to reel off the usual deeply misleading spiel direct about the Tories’ handling of the NHS, stating:
We do put more money into it. We have put an extra £3.5Bn in at the last budget. We’ve increased the NHS budget every year since we got into office. I do accept there are more demographic pressures on it. I do accept that – that is true. But is not true to say we do not invest in the NHS, and it is an utter lie to say that we do not believe in the NHS because we do.
You can watch the furious exchange below:
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