Mr Redwood’s contribution to the Opposition Day debate on the National Health Service, 21 January 2015

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I am grateful to the shadow Secretary of State. Can he explain why Labour only ever now has any interest in England’s health service? We would like to hear about Labour’s conduct of the Welsh health service and its message for Scotland. Does Labour not know that this is an English devolved matter?

Andy Burnham (Leigh) (Lab): It is my responsibility to hold the Government to account on behalf of patients in England for what is happening in England now. That is my job, and I will make no apologies to the right hon. Gentleman or anybody else for doing it.


Mr Redwood: Does my right hon. Friend understand Labour’s attack on privatisation? Under Labour, the NHS always had private-sector contractors as GPs— and nothing has changed; and it always bought all its pharmaceuticals from competitive, profit-making pharmaceutical companies—and nothing has changed. What is the shadow Secretary of State’s grievance?

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): Privatisation is one of the most pernicious fears that Labour is seeking to stoke up—not least because, as Secretary of State, the right hon. Member for Leigh allowed the decision to go through that Hinchingbrooke hospital should be run by the private sector. He has been running away from that decision faster than anything that anyone has seen before, because he is still trying to curry favour with the unions.

The companies on the shortlist for Hinchingbrooke hospital were Circle, Serco and Ramsay Health Care. He could have stopped that as Secretary of State, but he did not. He knows—[Interruption.] Those were the three bidders for the private sector-led bids. He could have stopped that process when he was Secretary of State, but he chose not to. That makes my point very well.