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Lansley wants to make the NHS so good that nobody wants private medical insurance

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has seized on a ComRes poll of 150 MPs - including 44 Tory MPs - that appears to show much greater support for tax relief for private medical care among Tory MPs than any other party.  Mr Darling said the Tories were two-faced on the NHS.

66% of the 44 Tory MPs questioned said they supported tax relief on standard rate income tax for private medical insurance.  Just 1% of Labour and 5% of the Liberal Democrat MPs were of the same opinion.  The Telegraph notes that "Two thirds of Conservatives, 6 per cent, said that patients should be able to receive treatment part paid for by the NHS and part privately funded, as against 36 per cent of Lib Dems and 14 per cent of Labour MPs."

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley dismissed the survey - saying that most Tory MPs did not answer the survey.  He told Sky News:

"We want to arrive at a position where nobody feels they need private medical insurance in order to have access to good quality healthcare."

Many socialists have long used exactly that argument for removing support for private schools.  It's a bad argument and it is actually the existence of an escape route from the NHS - as would have been provided by the Patient's Passport (a commitment abolished by David Cameron) - that forces the state sector to raise its performance.


Sky News' headline above their coverage of the story is entirely inappropriate.  The Tories reputation on the NHS is not close to being in tatters.  A poll only yesterday found that 39% agreed that 'the NHS would be safer under Labour than the Conservatives' BUT 47% disagreed.  This latest Sky error follows on from Sky Political Editor Adam Boulton's unnecessarily personal attack on Dan Hannan.

Picture 6

Tim Montgomerie


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