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NHS Outsourcing and Privatisation

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 4:56 pm on 23rd May 2018.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 4:56 pm, 23rd May 2018

My hon. Friend speaks extremely wisely. He is right: it would fundamentally weaken the ability of the Executive—which the Freedom of Information Act tried to protect—to make considered, thoughtful and wise decisions. Ultimately, that would put at risk the credibility of our democracy itself.

I think it fair to say that, despite my many faults as Health Secretary, I have pursued transparency in the NHS with greater vigour than has been the case previously. I passionately believe that in this House we must be accountable for the outcomes of all the decisions that we make, but all of us are mortal—all of us make mistakes—so if accountability is the watchword after a decision is made, thoughtfulness must be the watchword before it is made. Any measures that affect the honesty and frankness of the advice that Ministers receive would fundamentally reduce that thoughtfulness, and reduce the effectiveness of our Government for the people whom they serve.

For those reasons—as well as because of all the ridiculous myths about the millions and privatisation—I have absolutely no hesitation in asking my right hon. and hon. Friends to vigorously and thoroughly oppose the motion.