I’m about to go and do BBC News 24 on the hospitals row. In case you hadn’t heard, the Tory list of district hospitals threatened with closure wasn’t 100% accurate. Most unhelpfully a Conservative MP, Henry Bellingham, has criticised the placement of his own local hospital on the list and this has got the BBC very excited. It’s obviously a mistake that shouldn’t have been made. One of the few things an opposition party can control is competent management of its own affairs. The bottom line, however, is that the Tory campaign on NHS cuts is staying in the news. My guess is that more voters will be left angry at Labour’s mismanagement of the NHS than will be concerned about a clerical error in CCHQ. A clerical error is certainly much less significant than the news that – ten years into Labour rule – Britain has one of the lowest cancer survival rates in Europe. My understanding is that the new CCHQ list may identify more hospitals at risk of closure or facing cuts.
By way of footnote: When I was at the Bank of England there was a ‘done by, checked by’ or ‘four eyes’ rule for the drawing up of any public document. CCHQ should adopt the same rule.
4.25pm: Reform have a briefing on Britain’s woeful record on cancer.