Cameron stands by Lansley

David Cameron and Andrew Lansley David Cameron is standing by his health secretary and his NHS bill

"Kill the bill. Sack the health secretary."

That is the cry coming from a very curious coalition.

Out front are opponents of the government's NHS plans - led by the Labour Party but followed by a growing number of groups representing doctors, nurses and midwives. Behind them, muttering rather than shouting, are some supporters of the very same reforms.

They argue that ministers could have brought about most of the changes they want without new legislation.

They fear that necessary reforms will now be blamed for anything that goes wrong in the health service, even when shortage of money may be the real problem.

They believe that Andrew Lansley's presentation of the changes has been little short of calamitous.

That deep frustration is what was probably behind the colourful remark quoted in The Times this week. An anonymous but exasperated prime ministerial aide was reported to have said: "Andrew Lansley should be taken out and shot".

Yet David Cameron has twice recently passed up the chance to fire his health secretary when first Liam Fox's and then Chris Huhne's resignations forced cabinet changes on him.

And today he backed both the man and his bill.


In part because some one-time critics - like Shirley Williams - have now been won over.

In part, perhaps, because he will not want to throw a lifeline to Ed Miliband by making a humiliating U-turn.

And in part because some changes have begun and some argue that the law now needs to catch up with them.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Time for all the talk to stop and for the NHS reforms to be implemented in England.

    We can then compare the reformed NHS in England with the Labour run NHS in Wales and see which is the better health service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Given that Cameron clearly stated before the election that there would be no "Top Down" re-organisation of the NHS in his Government and that this is not a Lib Dem policy there is a case for Cameron's resignation rather than Lansley's sacking.

    Mind you neither party in the coalition worries too much about mandates!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    To Some Lingering Fog

    A bit of a gamble wouldn't you say? What if the NHS becomes fragmented and irreparably damaged... What then? Revert to the current model? Would it even be possible? How much would it cost?

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Tell you what else is curious. I get this..

    @BBCPolitics David Cameron attack on Welsh NHS

    But clicking the link, find the actual story is this: 'Prime Minister David Cameron has launched an attack on...Labour's handling...of the health service in Wales.'

    A fair discrepancy. This 'can't fit the truth in new media' wears thin

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Well, under the terms of this bill, Andrew Lansley is going to lose his job, because he will no longer be obliged to provide health care as the Health Secretary. That's what all the fuss is about. You will get exactly what health care is provided by the private companies lining up to take over commissioning in your area and if that doesn't include an A&E, mental health or elderly care, tough.


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