PM David Cameron and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt are among 64 Tory MPs in a study by Unite – Lib Dems Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are also on the list
One in five Coalition MPs have links with private firms who could profit from the Government’s NHS reforms, a damning dossier will reveal on Tuesday. Prime Minister David Cameron, former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and hissuccessor Jeremy Hunt are among 64 Tory MPs named in a study by the Unite union. Deputy PM Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable are among seven Liberal Democrats on the list. All 71 MPs named in the dossier voted in favour of the Government’s controversial Health and Social Care Act in 2012, which opened up the NHS to more private firms.It comes ahead of Friday’s crunch vote on Labour frontbencher Clive Efford’s Private Members’ Bill, when MPs will decide whether to scrap key sections of the Act. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey raged: “This dossier of disgrace exposes the corruption at the heart of our Government’s sinister health reforms.”
He added: “The Government’s real plan is the complete and irreversible privatisation of our NHS.”
Many of the MPs named in the document have directly received donations from business leaders or firms with links to the private health industry. There is no suggestion any of the politicians or donors acted illegally. The Conservative Party stressed tonight that all donations are reported to the Electoral Commission in line with electoral law. But critics said the dossier shines a bright light on the close ties between members of the Coalition and the private health industry.
Mr McCluskey said: “The sheer scale of the conflict of interest is staggering. “But it is the subsequent betrayal and privatisation of our NHS, driven by the monstrous Health and Social Care Act, that has made this a genuine scandal for our democracy.” The dossier shows Mr Lansley, the chief architect of the Coalition’s NHS reforms, accepted a £21,000 donation in November 2009 from John Nash, the former chairman of Care UK.
Two other Tory MPs received donations from Mr Nash’s wife Caroline. Mr Hunt, who took over as Health Secretary when Mr Lansley was sacked in September 2012, received more than £20,000 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in health care firms. Other Cabinet Ministers to have received donations include Leader of the Commons William Hague, who accepted £20,000 from MMC Ventures, the part-owner of The Practice plc which runs 60 GP surgeries. And Culture Secretary Sajid Javid received £11,000 from Moundsley Healthcare Ltd.The Prime Minister is named in the dossier after handing a life peerage to nursing and care home tycoon Dolar Popat, who has given the Tories more than £200,000 in donations.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has share options in hygiene tech firm Byotrol, which sells products to the NHS. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is named because his former firm Castlemead is a health care and nursing home developer. Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said of the Tories: “They were bankrolled by private health in Opposition as they drew up secret plans to put market forces at the heart of the NHS. “And once in Government, MPs and peers with links to private health voted it through without a mandate from the public.” For the Lib Dems, the dossier says party leader Mr Clegg received a £5,000 donation to his constituency office from Alpha Medical Consultancy. And Vince Cable was given £2,000 by Chartwell Care Services, which is owned by Chartwell Health & Care plc.
Tonight a Conservative spokesman hit back, and said: “Here in the Conservative Party, donations don’t buy our leader, our candidates or our policies. If only the same could be said of Unite and the Labour Party.
“The most important thing with NHS care is that it is high quality and free at the point of delivery.”
A Lib Dem spokesman said his party had “stopped Conservative privatisation plans and reversed Labour’s special favours to private health companies”. He added: “We have already committed to spending at least £1billion extra on health and care in each year of the next Parliament.”
Some MPs’ health connections
- George Osborne, Chancellor: Received donation through Conservative Campaign HQ from Julian Schild whose family made £184m in 2006 by selling hospital bed-makers Huntleigh Technology
- Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary: Former director of Attendo AB, a Swedish private health company
- Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary: Beneficiary of a trust which owns controlling interest in nursing home developer Castlemead Ltd
- David Davis, former Shadow Home Secretary: Received £4,250 for a speaking engagement for health insurance company Aviva
- Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary: Received £5,000 from iIPGL Ltd, which purchased health care company Cyprotex
- John Redwood, former Cabinet Minister: Advised the private equity company which runs Pharmacy2u
- Vince Cable, Business Secretary: Received a donation of £2,000 from Chartwell Care Services, which is 100% owned by Chartwell Health & Care PLC