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Lib Dem deputy leader wants Lansley removed


The coalition is braced for another buffeting over its NHS reforms today, with health secretary Andrew Lansley’s future still hanging in the balance.

David Cameron led efforts to shore up his Cabinet minister’s position on Sunday, insisting they were “at one” over the shake-up.

The prime minister used an article to insist he was “at one” with Mr Lansley and backed the controversial NHS reforms going through parliament.

A series of senior Tories were also deployed to television studios in a bid to shore up the Cabinet minister’s position.

However, Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes broke ranks to say Mr Lansley should be shifted from his post.

“My political judgment is that in the second half of the parliament it would be better to move on,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

A source close to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg stressed that Mr Hughes had been expressing a personal opinion.

Several Conservative Cabinet ministers are said to have privately criticised Mr Lansley’s handling of the Health and Social Care Bill, with one suggesting the government’s problems were now on the scale of the Poll Tax in the 1980s.

A Downing Street source was also quoted last week saying that the health secretary should be “taken out and shot”.

However, writing in The Sunday Times, Mr Cameron stressed that there was no alternative to reform.

The prime minister - whose disabled son Ivan died in 2009 - said: “As a parent, night after night, I’ve known what it is to have the NHS by your side…

“But while the values are right, the system isn’t. It needs to change - and that is why I am at one with Andrew Lansley, the reform programme and the legislation going through Parliament.”

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt dismissed the prospect of Mr Lansley being axed, insisting he would be seen as the “architect of the modern NHS” in the future.

“The first thing I want to say is that Andrew Lansley is absolutely the right person for this job,” he told Andrew Marr.

“Andrew Lansley is a decent man, passionate about the NHS and he knows what he is doing.”

He added: “It is completely wrong to make a judgment about someone when they are right in the middle of the storm.”

Labour stepped up its attack on the health reforms by releasing an internal Department of Health letter warning that too many trusts were failing to meet waiting time targets.

The missive, from NHS deputy chief executive David Flory to senior managers, revealed that in November 47 health-care commissioners and 30 acute care trusts failed to hit 18-week treatment targets.

“It is unacceptable for performance to fall below the expected standards,” Mr Flory insisted.


Readers' comments (5)

  • tinkerbell

    please sign if you haven't already. thank you.

    Tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members have voted on what we do next to save the NHS. The votes have been counted. Here's our top priority: force MPs to hold a fresh debate on whether to scrap Andrew Lansley's dangerous plans for our health service. [1]

    There's a petition on the government website calling for Lansley's NHS plans to be dropped. It's got 60,000 names on it. The government has said that when a petition reaches 100,000 names it can trigger a proper debate in Parliament. [2] So let's get signing!

    Add your name to the government e-petition here:

    If 38 Degrees members pile in now, we can easily raise this petition past 100,000 signatures. The more names on it, the more pressure on the government and MPs to rein in Andrew Lansley's plans.

    The government said they launched their own petition website to give voters more say. [3] So let's hold them to that. Just this week fresh opinion polls have shown that most voters don't support Lansley's plans. [4] Let's try to use their petition website to force MPs to listen to our message that the NHS plans are a dangerous mess and need to be stopped.

    Add your name to the government e-petition here:

    38 Degrees members know that the future of the NHS matters. It’s about each one of us knowing that we can get the treatment we need when we need it, without having to worry about paying. It's about knowing that our loved ones will be able to rely on the same thing in years to come. It’s a national treasure, not a political football. So let's keep fighting for it!

    Take two minutes to sign the government e-petition:

    Thanks for being involved,

    Johnny, Becky, Hannah, Marie, David, Cian and the 38 Degrees team

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  • tinkerbell

    LibDems you have no credibility now and you know it, you sold out joining the tories. Tories you will never get in again for a long, long time, come the next elections, what's left for us, maybe it's down to the monster raving looney party. Probably do a better job.

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  • Ellen Watters

    epetition signed.

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  • tinkerbell

    Ellen Watters | 15-Feb-2012 3:59 pm

    It now qualifies for debate in parliament with over 100,000 signatures. Well done.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • tinkerbell

    Let's walk the walk.

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