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COMMONS CHAMBER 11.30am: Health questions (topicals at 12.15pm) 12.30pm: Ten minute rule motion: National Insurance (Renaming) Bill (Ben Gummer, Con, Ipswich) Main business Motions relating to the draft Social Security Benefits U... Continue to article
Wednesday 8 January It must be more than 13 years since I last wrote The House magazine diary. It’s taken at least three editors to get over my earlier efforts and ask me again. My first job in London was writing and editing The Hou... Continue to article
Former Shadow Health Secretary John Healey has called on David Cameron to "end this NHS cover up" and ensure the Health Secretary releases information about the Government's NHS reforms.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Healey said that the Department of Health had "resisted" calls to release risk assessments and risk registers, and that the public "should know the risks that government policies pose to our NHS".
John Healey has said that David Cameron is "failing" to convince voters that the Conservatives can be trusted on the NHS, and that "trust and confidence in the Tories on the NHS are ebbing fast".
Writing for PoliticsHome, the Shadow Health Secretary said that people were "starting to see the consequences of the Prime Minister's broken NHS promises" and that Labour's NHS arguments were "winning through with many doctors, nurses and patients' groups".
John Healey has strongly opposed moves by the Government to privatise hospitals, saying that he could "guarantee under Labour that NHS hospitals remain in the NHS".
Addressing the Labour Party Conference, the Shadow Health Secretary said that Labour would seek to "develop integrated care organisations to allow primary, secondary and social care to work together".
He admitted that Labour "did not act before" on the NHS but would "in the future".
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has hit back at the speech, accusing Mr Healey of "ludicrous scaremongering". "With no announcements, and no vision for the NHS, Labour resorted today to nothing more than ludicrous scaremongering."
Ed Miliband has hailed his first shadow cabinet reshuffle as a "changing of the guard" that shows Labour is "moving on". Mr Miliband rewarded Chuka Umunna, Stephen Twigg and Rachel Reeves with important roles as he revamped his front bench team.
Mr Umunna takes over from John Denham at Shadow Business, while former Bank of England economist Ms Reeves will replace Angela Eagle as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Mr Twigg, who famously ousted Michael Portillo in 1997, becomes Shadow Education Secretary, taking over from Andy Burnham, who moves to the Health brief, where John Healey is stepping down. The reshuffle will continue at junior levels next week.
Deputy Leader Harriet Harman swaps roles with Ivan Lewis who moves from Culture to International Development. Tom Watson is rewarded for his combative approach to the phone hacking scandal with a new role as Labour's Deputy Chairman.
Mr Miliband emphasised the number of new faces in his team, saying: “My decision to appoint half-a-dozen members of the 2010 intake shows the talent that Labour has and the way in which this new generation can join us in taking Labour’s agenda forward."
Both Mr Healey and Mr Denham have announced their resignations and say they are leaving of their own accord. Mr Denham will become Mr Miliband's Parliamentary Private Secretary and will stand down as an MP at the next General Election.
The Conservatives attacked Mr Miliband for appointing "known Brown supporters" to his team, with party chair Baroness Warsi saying: “By promoting Gordon Brown’s cronies, the very people who got us into this mess in the first place, it’s clear that Ed Miliband is a weak leader who has learnt nothing."
A row has erupted in the Labour ranks over the presence of tobacco companies at last week's party conference. The Daily Telegraph reports Shadow Health Secretary John Healey stayed away from a £1,400-per-head business forum in protest at the invitation of two big tobacco representatives.
Figures released by the Department of Health show that the number of patients being referred by their GP to see a hospital specialist has fallen by nearly 5% in the last year, sparking concern that access to treatment is being rationed as a result of pressure on NHS finances. Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said that the figures revealed the pressure on the NHS, "at a time when David Cameron is wasting millions of pounds reorganising the NHS bureaucracy".
19/01/2014 on Westminster Hour, BBC Radio 4
11/11/2013 on Boulton & Co, Sky News
10/04/2013 on BBC News
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
08/03/2014 on The Week in Westminster
08/03/2014 on The Week in Westminster
08/03/2014 on Week in Westminster, BBC Radio 4