The Tory leader was interviewed 24 hours after he promised
to make the Conservatives the party of the NHS. Asked if the wider
Conservative Party was as committed to the NHS as he was, David Cameron
replied that Mr Lansley was respected throughout the NHS, partly
because he had held the portfolio for a number of years and that he
would be Health Secretary in his first Cabinet. Mr Cameron also paid
tribute to the Conservative MPs and candidates across the nation who
were campaigning to save local hospitals and A&E services. The
commitment to the NHS was "extremely great," he insisted.
As far as ConservativeHome is aware Mr Lansley joins George Osborne as
the only other frontbencher who has been given a public guarantee of
becoming the Cabinet minister for the job they currently hold. Mr
Cameron’s tactics are unusual. Party leaders normally like to keep
their options open on appointments but Mr Cameron does not like
reshuffles and strongly believes that frontbenchers should have time to
master their briefs. He attacked the frequency with which Labour has
changed Health Secretaries.
Today presenter Sarah Montague’s interviewing of Mr Cameron was typically lazy.
It was all of the ‘how can we sure that you’ve become centrist on the
NHS?’ variety. There was no pressing of Mr Cameron from a reformist
perspective – putting the hard questions to him on the need for more
radical policy moves that would address the poor healthcare that
Britons receive compared to most other advanced nations. Not unfairly,
Radio 4’s Norman Smith said that there was now little to choose between
Labour and the Tories on healthcare.
PlayPolitical one minute video: Cameron promises more choice to NHS patients and payment by results
11am: Iain Dale wonders if David Cameron has made a rod for his own back by giving this guarantee