Monday 28 June 2021 / 5:40 PM Jonathan Ashworth

Labour call for Lords Health Minister to leave post over personal email account

Labour call for Lords Health Minister to leave post over personal email account

 

Responding to the Secretary of State’s statement in Parliament this afternoon, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, called on the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Innovation, Lord Bethell, to be sacked following his use of a personal email address to conduct Government business.

 

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care asked the Secretary of State:

 

“Why is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Innovation, the noble Lord Bethell using his personal email account to discuss Government contracts?

“Why did he have a meeting with a firm that won a contract but not declare it? Does he have confidence in this minister?

“Isn’t it time this health minister was relieved of his responsibilities as well?”

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

 

FULL TEXT OF SPEECH

 

***check against delivery***

 

“I welcome the Rt Hon gentleman to his place. He will find working with NHS and social care staff both inspirational and rewarding. I hope he will agree and make arrangements for a fair pay rise for them rather than a real terms pay cut.

“Today, he let it be known that the July 19th reopening will go ahead. He told the news this morning that ‘there is no going back’; that lifting restrictions will be ‘irreversible”.

“A word to the wise: I’ve responded to a lot these statements now. I remember being told ‘there was nothing in the data’ to suggest June 21st would not go ahead. I remember children returning to school for one day before the January lockdown was imposed.

“We saw 84,000 covid cases in the last week, a 61% increase. Today, we see the highest case rate since January.

“If the trends continue we could hit 35,000 to 45,000 cases a day by July 19th  that means more long covid. More disruption to schooling. And for some, hospitalisation.

“We know even after two doses you can still catch and transmit. So what is he going to do push infections down? Vaccination will do it eventually, but not in the next 4 weeks.

“I want to see an end to restrictions end. Our constituents want it. But I hope his confidence about July 19th does not prove somewhat premature? Or even dare I say it hubristic.

“Can he confirm that by ‘irreversible’, is he ruling out all restrictions this winter? and has he abandoned the plan which the previous Secretary of State and officials were drawing up for restrictions this winter? Increased infections impact on the ability of the NHS to provide wider care.

“Today he has promised to give the NHS “everything they need to get through the backlog”. So will the hospital discharge and support funding be extended beyond this September or will trusts have to make cuts instead? And how does he define ‘getting through the backlog’?

“When will the NHS again guarantee that 95% of patients will start treatment within 18 weeks of referral? We know thousands are waiting far too long for cancer care, so when will the NHS meet its target that 96% of patients wait no longer than a month from diagnosis to first treatment?

“Will he give primary care the resources to meet the challenge of the ‘hidden waiting list’ of over 7 million patient referrals that we would have expected since March 2020, but who are yet to visit their GP?

“Given the pressures on primary care, will he still press ahead with the GP data transfer?

“If the Department can’t keep CCTV footage secure, how does it expect to protect our personal data?

“And will we see a plan to fix social care – or is today’s Telegraph correct when it reports “he’s of the opinion we are at completely the wrong stage of parliament to launch a new social care strategy”?

“Given the pressures across the whole of health and social care, will he abandon the ill thought through top-down reorganisation of the NHS that the previous Secretary of State was set to embark on?

“Given recent questions of propriety around covid contracts, he will of course want to be a new broom.

“Can he confirm he will not use a personal email to carry out government business?

“Can he explain why the social care minister been using a personal email account to conduct government business?

“Why is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Innovation, the noble Lord Bethell using his personal email account to discuss Government contracts Why did he have a meeting with a firm that won a contract but not declare it? Does he have confidence in this minister?

“Isn’t it time this health minister was relieved of his responsibilities as well?”

Ends