NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 9:50 pm on 16th January 2012.

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Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health 9:50 pm, 16th January 2012

To begin on a conciliatory note, I congratulate Mr Reed on his first speech from the Front Bench as a junior shadow Health spokesman. I did not agree with a single word that he said, but I congratulate him on the way in which he spoke.

I have no idea what new year resolutions the Labour party has made, but perhaps I could suggest one: to get their facts right. Having listened to the endearing speech of Frank Dobson, the same speech that I have heard on many occasions from Grahame M. Morris, the slightly bizarre speech of Mr Anderson and the speech from Rosie Cooper, I have to say that they really have got it wrong. It is wrong to seek to misrepresent by repeating a fallacy.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend Mr Dorrell on his lucid exposé of the contradictions in the arguments of Andy Burnham. I thank my hon. Friends the Members for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (Dr Poulter), for Crawley (Henry Smith) and for Battersea (Jane Ellison) for their thoughtful contributions. I listened carefully and with great interest to the speech by John Pugh but, to be honest and frank, I was not carried along by the strength of his argument on the issues.

I fear that many of the contributions of Opposition Members that my hon. Friends and I have had to listen to have given a series of misrepresentations and misinformation. I remind them that for 36 years, just over half the 64 years of the national health service, it has been under the stewardship of the Conservative party. We have never sought to privatise the health service and we never will privatise the health service.