Jeremy Hunt stands firm after Andy Burnham issues legal threat over NHS 'cover up' row
The opposition party says the Health Secretary has engaged in a baseless smear campaign against shadow minister Andy Burnham
The former Labour Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has accused his Tory successor Jeremy Hunt of being part an “orchestrated smear campaign” designed to take political advantage of scandals in the NHS.
The row is threatening to end up in court, after Mr Burnham instructed his lawyers to write to the Health Secretary demanding that he retract an accusation made on Twitter and apologise. A Conservative spokesman said last night that Mr Hunt has no intention of backing down.
On Friday night, Mr Hunt accused Mr Burnham of attempting a ‘cover-up’ while he was Health Secretary in Gordon Brown’s government. Mr Hunt added: “We are legislating to make sure this never happens again.” The tweet was still online last night, despite the threat of libel.
Writing on his blog, Mr Burnham said Mr Hunt’s accusation referred to a report into Basildon Hospital drawn up by the Care Quality Commission a few months before the 2010 election. The Tories claim that emails obtained under a Freedom of Information request show Mr Burnham trying to prevent the report from being published.
But he claims his anger was directed at a briefing by the CQC press office which, he alleges, broke the organisation’s own rules. “The release of information about any hospital failure is a serious matter. It needs to be handled in a considered manner and according to an agreed process… There was never any question of information being withheld,” Mr Burnham wrote.
He added that for a minister to be sued by a political opponent would be “an extraordinary step”, but claimed “it is necessary because of the exceptional circumstances in which I find myself… This is an extremely serious allegation to be made by anybody. But it is all the more serious when it comes from a serving Secretary of State against a predecessor.”
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...