When Conservative MPs ask questions it would seem realistic for the Conservative Government to provide a credible answer. We are very familiar of the times when opposition MPs get treated very badly, but one would assume that the same political party members would get treated much better. Even if the Government does not have the information in the format that has been requested or perhaps if they do not wish to release the information it would seem very reasonable for them to provide a meaningful and credible answer so they appear competent.
The question from Caroline was in written format directed to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and given that Sajid Javid has four colleagues in his Department, two of whom are Sussex based and one of whom is the neighbour of Caroline it would perhaps have made sense for Maria Caulfield or even Gillian Keegan to have responded and perhaps one of them could have provided a credible answer. However the answer came from Edward Argar and it was published on the 23rd December so perhaps he was too busy for his Christmas Holiday? Edward Argar is the Minister of State (Minister of Health) so he is the most senior member in the department apart from Sajid Javid. He has been an MP since 2015 and became a Junior Minister in the State of Justice for 15 months before he took on his current role 15 months ago. Before he was elected in Charnwood in 2015 he stood in Oxford East with a campaign “promising a Conservative government would deliver a fairer society with improved public services and more NHS investment.” So here is the question and the incompetent answer. What prospect is there for a better answer next year?
Caroline Ansell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the backlog on joint replacement surgery resulting from the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.
Edward Argar: No formal assessment has been made as this data is not collected in the format requested.
Along with the lack of competent answer there was certainly no statement made, unless of course Edward Argar considers that 16 words is a statement!