Posts Tagged ‘Jenny Jackson’

Thursday News Review

02/06/2011, 06:44:19 AM

Lansley is a beaten man

In his first comments since the end of the Government’s NHS ‘listening exercise’ this week, the Health Secretary said he was willing to accept ‘substantial and significant’ changes to his controversial reform plans. But Mr Lansley, who is engaged in a struggle with Nick Clegg over the future of his plans, insisted major reforms were needed to prevent a £20billion funding shortfall within four years. In an article for the Daily Telegraph he dismissed Liberal Democrat claims that he wants to ‘privatise’ the NHS. But he also issued a stark warning that the basic principles of the NHS could not survive unless major changes were brought in. – Daily Mail

This month, we will receive the NHS Future Forum’s report, following an intensive period of listening and engagement. We will respond to the forum once we have considered its report, which will be informed by the broad and expert feedback it has received. We have always been clear that we are ready to accept any changes – substantial and significant – if they help us improve care for patients. When the Health and Social Care Bill comes back to Parliament, people should have every confidence that we will make the changes necessary to ensure the NHS is protected for our future generations. We will never privatise our NHS. But if we choose to ignore the pressures on it. the health service will face a financial crisis within a matter of years that will threaten the very values we hold so dear – of a comprehensive health service, available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not the ability to pay. I will not allow that to happen. – Andrew Lansley, Daily Telegraph

NHS reforms highlight Coalition cracks

The personal spin doctor and attack dog for the embattled Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has been muzzled, after senior Liberal Democrats objected to her alleged rubbishing of Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and other Liberal Democrat ministers. The silencing of Jenny Jackson, who was barred from briefing journalists after being caught sending emails that undermined Mr Clegg, is another setback for Mr Lansley in his uphill struggle to win public support for plans to overhaul the NHS. The row is more evidence of tension within the Coalition over the radical plans put forward by Mr Lansley, which include scrapping primary care trusts and handing over to GP consortiums the responsibility for managing budgets and commissioning healthcare and opening up NHS trusts to competition. – the Independent

Jenny Jackson, who was special advisor to Andrew Lansley with responsibility for talking to the media, was stripped of her role after sending an email highlighting contradictions in the Deputy Prime Minister’s position. The email followed an interview on the Andrew Marr programme in which Mr Clegg spoke for the first time about the need for “substantive” changes in the bill. The Liberal Democrats were incensed to discover that following the programme, Ms Jackson emailed senior journalists quotes from previous interviews conducted by Mr Clegg in which he was supportive of the bill. The email suggested these earlier quotes were inconsistent with his more recently stated position. – Sky News

MPs condemn asylum amnesty

An “amnesty” has been quietly granted to more than 160,000 asylum seekers over the past five years by a UK Border Agency that MPs have concluded is still “not fit for purpose”, in a damning report published on Thursday. The Commons home affairs select committee report says it is indefensible that officials have been unable to trace a further 74,500 asylum seekers, among a total of 450,000 unresolved “legacy” cases. The agency has been working through these cases since it was first declared not fit for purpose by then home secretary John Reid in 2006. The cross-party committee regards what it describes as an “amnesty policy”, alongside renewed delays to the much heralded e-borders system to count people in and out of the country, as further evidence that the agency is still not proving effective. – the Guardian

More than 160,000 asylum seekers have been allowed to stay in Britain in an effective “amnesty”, MPs have revealed in a damning report. The immigrants were given “leave to remain” in the country as officials battled to clear a backlog of 450,000 cases. Up to 181,000 people who should have returned home over the last four years are still living here. Officials have now dealt with 403,500 cases, which built up during the 90s and early 2000s, and given 161,000 people permission to stay in Britain. The MPs’ report said that it was “such a large proportion that it amounts in effect to an amnesty”. Committee chairman Keith Vaz added the agency was “not fit for purpose”. The verdict is embarrassing for David Cameron, who made tightening up on immigration a priority after being elected last year. – Daily Mirror

Leading to disaster

Ed Miliband is leading his party to ‘disaster’, it was claimed last night as an opinion poll revealed that Labour had lost its lead over  the Tories for the first time in  seven months. The Labour leader has been accused of ‘creating a monster’ by instigating 25 separate policy reviews.  Titles included: ‘X Factor for the many, not the few’, ‘Family life. What helps?’ and ‘Supporting the sustainable empowerment of women and girls in the developing world’, according to an article by Labour blogger and insider Dan Hodges in the Left-wing New Statesman magazine. One Shadow Cabinet minister said Mr Miliband had ‘created a monster’ with the reviews.  The insider told the magazine: ‘It’s going to be a disaster. When [David] Cameron set up a similar consultation he was careful to keep it at  arm’s length. ‘That way when someone like Zac Goldsmith popped up and started banging on about boycotting Sainsbury’s, Cameron could contain it. ‘Our consultation may be separated from the leader, but it’s still lashed to the party. We’ve created a monster.’ – Daily Mail

“To be honest,” said one shadow cabinet source, “I’m not really sure how this process is supposed to be working or what it’s meant to achieve. Is it outreach, where we show the country we’re listening? Is it to give us some basic policy touch-points so we can get through Any Questions? Are we using it to rebrand the party? Or are we using it to develop a policy agenda that can [help us] win back power?” Another Labour insider said: “Want to know how it’s working? Phone up the party and ask how many policy reviews are under way. It won’t be able to tell you.” I did; it couldn’t. Sources close to the Labour leader are alive to these concerns but resolute in their determination to bring about a more inclusive way of evolving policy. “Ed is serious about opening up the party,” I was told. “Remember, he saw first-hand how things worked under Tony and Gordon. It was surreal. Any new thinking was seen as a threat; that anyone was seen to be thinking at all was seen as a threat.” – New Statesman

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