Show Hide image Health 26 November 2014 PMQs review: Miliband bangs on about the NHS The Labour leader is determined to keep his party's strongest issue at the top of the agenda. Print HTML For the third time in recent weeks, Ed Miliband went on the NHS at today's PMQs. Labour is determined to keep its strongest issue at the top of the agenda. Assailed by Miliband over rising A&E waiting times and the growing funding crisis, Cameron delivered his stock response: the coalition has invested more money in the NHS and "you only get a strong health service with a strong economy." Whenever Miliband mentions the subject, the PM seeks to drag him back to the Tories' favoured territory. But Labour aides regard Cameron having to talk about the NHS at all as a victory for them. The party's focus groups have found that the coalition's top-down reorganisation of the service means voters blame him for the deteriorating state of the service. When Cameron later responded to Ukip defector Mark Reckless by accusing the party of wanting to "break up" the NHS, the Labour frontbench pointed accusingly at him. The problem for the Tories is that many voters are doing the same. But some in Labour regard Miliband's reliance on the NHS as a mark of his weakness and his failure to conquer new political territory. There was no opportunity for Cameron to deliver the anticipated jibe over the Emily Thornberry affair. But Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi more than compensated when he bellowed: "When I see a white van, Mr Speaker, I think of the small business owner who works long hours to put food on the family table. When I see the cross of St George, I think of the words of my constituent, William Shakespeare, 'this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England!' Does my Rt Hon Friend agree with me that we shouldn't sneer at people who work hard, who are patriotic and who love their country?" The Tory benches have rarely roared more loudly in appreciation. Cameron replied: "I agree with every word my Hon Friend has said. In fact, Mr Speaker, I was wondering why the Labour benches were so quiet. And now I realise, of course, the shadow attorney general who normally makes so much noise presumably isn't here today. Probably out taking pictures of people's homes I expect. But we know that meant about the modern Labour Party, sneering at people who work hard and love their country." But Labour's shadow health minister Jamie Reed delivered a sharp riposte when he declared: "The first thing I think of when I see a white van is whether or not it’s my father or my brother driving it." Cameron retorted: "If he values people who work hard and want to get on, he ought to cross the floor." Another notable moment came when Cameron was invited by Tory MP Andrew Turner to condemn Save The Children's award to Tony Blair (he denounced him for "taking us to war unnecessarily in Iraq"). Rather than attacking Blair over a war he also voted for, the PM wittily replied: "The remarkable thing about this award is that Tony Blair got it from someone who used to work for Gordon Brown. So obviously the person who gave the award knows about peacemaking and peacekeeping. But I think it's not for me to get involved." Damian McBride, however, who worked for Brown alongside Save The Children CEO Justin Forsyth, was not impressed. "Given how loyally Justin Forsyth has supported David Cameron - including making Sam a patron - that was a pretty low blow from the PM," he tweeted. › Iain Duncan Smith is at risk of wasting billions on the Universal Credit scheme George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe More Related articles Peter Mandelson: I pray every day for an early election to end Labour's awful state Jeremy Corbyn to tell Labour: "Prepare for a 2017 general election" What will Labour's new awkward squad do next?