NHS Spending

Part of EU Nationals in the Uk – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 6th July 2016.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health 6:12 pm, 6th July 2016

Perhaps I will cut down my speech a bit. I give a particularly warm welcome to all my Back-Bench colleagues here; it is wonderful to see them coming out in support in such numbers. I thank the shadow Health Secretary for calling this debate. She is right to talk about the issues of NHS funding—though not particularly through this motion, which I will come on to speak about. I welcome her to her first Opposition day debate, as I welcomed her earlier to her first statement. This is a brief that she knows well, having been shadow Public Health Minister, and having campaigned on a lot of very important topics, including plain paper packaging for cigarettes. She has done a lot of work with the all-party sickle cell and thalassaemia group as well. I wish her luck in two areas. The first is with her parliamentary questions, after last week’s question to the Department for International Development about a drought in Indonesia, when it was in fact in the Philippines. Secondly, I wish her luck finding some Front-Bench colleagues, just as I need luck finding some Back-Bench colleagues in these debates.

We are in agreement on Brexit; we were both on the remain side, and I campaigned strongly with the hon. Lady. I agree with her that however much we may have disagreed with the vote, it is very important that we respect it. She and I both worried about the damage that it might do to our economy and society if we left, but we also agree that it would do incredible damage to something even more important than them—to our democracy—if the British people were to think that the Westminster establishment was trying somehow to ignore their decision.

From the reasonable tone of her comments, I know that the hon. Lady understands that Vote Leave was not speaking for the Government when it said that there would potentially be an extra £350 million for the NHS. In fairness to the Vote Leave campaigners, at various points they clarified downwards that slogan on the side of the bus and said that they were really talking about a net figure of more like £100 million that could potentially go to the NHS, rather than £350 million.