Jeremy Hunt insists new junior doctor contract will be imposed

Jeremy Hunt has insisted that a new contact will be imposed on junior doctors as he rejected suggestions that he does not have the power to force through the changes.

The health secretary faced an urgent question from his Labour counterpart Heidi Alexander, who suggested that Mr Hunt may have misled parliament and needlessly provoked unprecedented strike action from medics.

She questioned whether the state has the powers to implement the new employment deal of whether it was actually just a suggestion.

Mr Hunt hit back, insisting that the contract will be pushed through and will affect all junior doctors.

"We are imposing a new contract and we are doing it with the greatest of regret because the BMA (British Medical Association) refuse to talk," he told the House of Commons.

He accused Labour of staging "a truly desperate" attempt at a diversion from the question of whether they will back the doctors' strikes.

The health secretary added that it had never been the intention of the government to impose new terms on those who were already under contract but changes will affect everyone who begins a new job in the NHS.