UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of being “too weak” to sack underperforming members of her cabinet, after she reshuffled the lineup of her ministers in an attempt to reunify them ahead of a series of crucial foreign policy events this year.
Corbyn and May traded barbs in a raucous debate on healthcare Wednesday, during the first Prime Minister’s Questions of 2018 in the House of Commons.
Heavily criticizing May’s lacking policies in addressing the issues plaguing the severely under-budgeted National Health Service (NHS), Corbyn said May lacked the courage to fire her health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
“We know the Prime Minister recognizes there’s a crisis in our NHS because she wanted to sack the Health Secretary last week but was too weak to do it,”
May defended her decision to keep Hunt, who has been at the helm of NHS since 2012, saying “record funding” was being put in the NHS under his management.
“And if the NHS is so well-resourced and so well-prepared, why was a decision taken last week to cancel the operations of 55,000 patients during the month of January?” Corbyn asked.
Faced with calls by Labour MPs to “apologize,” May said she would look into the problem bust insisted that Britain must be “proud” of NHS.
“The reality in our NHS is that we are seeing 2.9 million more people now going to accident and emergency, over two million more operations taking place each year,” she said.
May put herself in an embarrassment situation and had to dish out another apology after wrongly accusing Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner of skipping the session on purpose while in reality, the Labour MP was receiving medical treatment.
“I did not realize the Shadow Education Secretary was herself undergoing medical treatment – I apologize unreservedly,” the PM conceded.
May’s weak performance coupled with a humiliating loss of parliamentary majority in last year’s snap election has upped Corbyn’s chances of replacing her as the next British PM.
Corbyn predicted in October that he would defeat May in another general election in 2018. The next UK general election will be held in 2022.