Daily Archives: February 29, 2012

Kiran Stacey

Michael Gove featured heavily in today’s PMQs. Ed Miliband began his questions by asking whether the prime minister would condemn the education secretary’s recent comments that the Leveson inquiry was having a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech.

But it was during the inevitable debate on the health bill that Mr Gove played an unspoken, but important role.

Ministers seem to be changing their tone in a subtle way when defending the NHS reforms, taking on some of the tactics deployed by the education secretary when he was pushing through the Free Schools agenda.

Instead of talking up how radical the plan is, the government is now downplaying it. We hear that the bill is about “evolution, not revolution”, and more strikingly that it is building on what Labour did while they were in government.

It was this latter point that the prime minister stressed today, reeling off a list of former Labour health secretaries or advisers who back competition in the NHS (which is not the same as backing the bill, mind). He added: