Junior doctors' strike
MPs failed to challenge David Cameron over the ongoing junior doctors' strike Ben Stansall/ AFP

Almost 3,000 NHS operations across England have been cancelled thanks to thousands of junior doctors striking for 24 hours. But MPs failed to challenge David Cameron over the contract dispute with the British Medical Association during prime minister's questions (PMQs) on 10 February.

Jeremy Corbyn instead challenged the top Tory over the government's housing record. The Labour leader claimed that the UK was facing a property "crisis" and urged the prime minister to do more to address the situation.

"Millions are struggling to get the homes they deserve. When is the prime minister going to realise there is a housing crisis in Britain and his government needs to address it now so we do not continue with this dreadful situation in this country?" Corbyn queried.

Cameron hit back by promising that the UK government would do "everything we can" to help young people on to the housing ladder and cited the Conservatives' Help to Save ISA scheme, the extension of the Right to Buy programme to housing association properties and the Help to Buy initiative.

The prime minister also claimed that homelessness numbers have fallen to less than 50% of the peak it was under New Labour. The party leaders went back and forth on the issue, with Corbyn deciding against using one of his six questions for the junior doctors' strike.

When asked why Corbyn failed to raise the industrial action, a spokesman for the Labour leader told IBTimes UK: "We went with housing. Labour has released statements on the strike this morning."


What is the dispute over a new contract all about?


Labour's shadow health secretary, Heidi Alexander, had earlier called for an urgent resolution to the dispute. "The sad truth is that it didn't have to come to this. Jeremy Hunt's handling of these negotiations has been a complete and utter shambles," she said.

"His comments over the past few weeks and months have caused widespread anger among junior doctors and left staff morale at rock bottom.

"We urgently need to see a resolution to this dispute, which doesn't involve imposing a new contract. Hunt needs to stop hiding behind his desk in the Department of Health and get back round the negotiating table."

BMA takes NHS contract fight to Tories' doorstep with parliament picketIBTimes UK

But despite the serious nature of the walkout, no MP bothered raising it with the prime minister. A poll from Ipsos MORI, conducted between 5 and 7 February, found that the public overwhelmingly believed (64%) that the dispute was the government's fault.