Theresa May has compiled a list of 12 stories that the Government machine timed for the 48 hours of election coverage.  She commented:

“The government that thought September 11th was ‘a good day to bury bad news’ is still at it.  This research shows that Labour buried twelve bad news stories during the fallout from the elections.  And they’re hardly petty matters.  More than £5 million was spent trying to recover tax credit overpayments.  Nearly £500 million was spent by the National Health Service on clinical negligence claims last year.  And more than £150,000 of taxpayers’ money went to Gordon Brown’s friends at Opinion Leader Research.  This is yet further evidence that proves, whether we have Blair or Brown, Labour’s spin and deceit will just go on and on.”

Here’s the ‘dirty dozen’:

  1. "More than £5 million was spent last year trying to recover tax credit overpayments (HC Hansard, 3 May 2007, Column 1810WA)
  2. £466 million was paid out in damages and legal costs by the NHS for clinical negligence claims (HC Hansard, 3 May 2007, Columns 1847-1848WA)
  3. The tender to organise ‘Skills Challenge: A Public Debate’ was won by Opinion Leader Research – an organisation with close links to Gordon Brown – with a contract value of £153,484.38 (HC Hansard, 3 May 2007, Column 1807WA).
  4. It was revealed that 197,441 complaints had been made about accommodation provided for members of the armed services by the Ministry of Defence (The Sun, 4 May, p.39)
  5. The Government was forced to back down and will now allow a vote in the House of Commons on the Government’s handling of Home Information Packs (HC Hansard, 3 May 2007, Column 1646)
  6. DEFRA’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) reported on genetically modified crops.  Its deputy chairman said that the UK could get its first commercial production of GM crops within two years (The Daily Mail, 4 May, p.4)
  7. A Freedom of Information request showed that a hospital superbug killed four people at one of the Government’s flagship £229 million hospitals (The Daily Telegraph, 4 May, p.14)
  8. The Office for National Statistics revealed that half the register offices in England and Wales have suspended the new £6 million IT system for recording births and deaths (Financial Times, 4 May, p.4)
  9. 128 rural post offices closed last year (HC Debs, 3 May 2007, Column 1820WA)
  10. The number of hectares of land in Afghanistan used to cultivate opium poppy increased from 109,103 in 2005 to 180,300 in 2006 (HC Hansard, 3 May 2007, Column 1821WA)
  11. The Department for Work and Pensions spent nearly £4,000 on media training for ministers last year (HC Hansard, 3 May 2007, Column 1829WA)
  12. Insolvency Service statistics show that a record number of people were declared insolvent in the first quarter of 2007."

(ConservativeHome’s editorial reaction to Thursday’s very encouraging results will follow later).

12 comments for: Still burying bad news

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