I wrote last week about 4 Tory MPs who are still lying on their websites about increased NHS spending, even after the government was officially slapped down by the head of the UK Statistics Authority for misleading (read: ‘lying’) about NHS spending. The government – and the Tory Party’s official website – had consistently ‘misled’, claiming to have increased real-terms NHS spending in ‘each of the last two years’ (or some variant of the same). Andrew Dilnot’s report stated clearly that NHS spending in 2011/12 was lower in real terms than in 2009/10, the last year of the last Labour government.
Typically, in an Opposition Day debate on NHS spending, when called on by Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham to formally acknowledge Dilnot’s rebuke, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt used every weasel-word combination and playground ‘your mum smells’ tactic to avoid doing anything of the kind.
The fact remains on record that the Tories lied about their spending on health, which is a very serious accusation, especially when it includes lying to Parliament, as it does. The Conservative Party website quickly changed the wording of its claim, so that it gives a false impression rather than lying outright. However, those 4 Tory MPs continued to make the false claim on their websites, in spite of the official rebuke.
We can now add another name to the list – and it’s one with an added twist: Sajid Javid, Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
Javid has a history of ludicrous and misleading statements, and even outright lies, in the House, so it’s not exactly an aberration for him to be telling porkies. On his website, as of today, he’s still parroting the now-defunct lie about the government’s spending on the NHS. In case he changes it now he’s been exposed, here’s a screenshot:
The false claim reads:
I therefore invited the Health Services Minister, Dr Dan Poulter MP, to visit the Alexandra Hospital, after holding a meeting with him in Westminster to explain the significance of the Alex to people throughout Bromsgrove.
He [Health Minister Daniel Poulter] agreed with me about how vital community hospitals and their services are to local residents and noted that this is why this Government has guaranteed health spending increases in real terms for each year of this Parliament.
It’s absolutely clear that this statement completely ignores Dilnot’s rebuke and qualifies as an outright lie. It’s also extremely hypocritical. Javid is trying to persuade his constituents that he is fighting to save their local hospital.
First, inviting Poulter to talk about saving a local hospital is like inviting the fox to talk about saving chickens. Poulter lied in Parliament to one of his own party’s MPs who had made a strong statement about the vital importance of Kettering General Hospital to its local community, assuring him that KGH is safe when he knows it’s nothing of the kind. So his ‘agreement’ that community hospitals and their services are ‘vital’ is as solid as the breath he used to say it.
Secondly, Javid’s own government department is conducting an ongoing ‘clawback’ of NHS savings that is many times larger than the amount of money that would be needed to save every struggling hospital in the NHS, if the money were reinvested as the government claimed it would do. That merits its own article, to show the details and evidence properly, and I plan to write that this evening, so please check back for details.
It’s absolutely clear that Javid’s ‘campaign’ for the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch is mere posturing, intended to lull the people of Bromsgrove while the government goes about its plan to cut NHS services with no concern for the needs and opinions of local people whatever. I hope Bromsgrove residents will not forget the duplicity of their MP when it comes to the next election, and send Mr Javid into the obscurity he deserves.
(Thanks to the official Save the Alex campaign – @savethealex on Twitter – for the pointer!)