James Forsyth

Burnham u-turns on yesterday’s health spending pledge

Burnham u-turns on yesterday's health spending pledge
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In a sign of the times, Andrew Lansley’s gaffe—which sent Tory high command into a rage—seems to be hurting Labour most. Andy Burnham, the new Health Secretary, has just told the NHS Confederation "I can't write the spending review - it would be ridiculous.” But last night on Channel 4 News, Burnham seemed to be doing just that. As Fraser pointed out straight afterwards, “a new Labour budget commitment is born”. But it seems, Burnham has disposed of it today—making it one of the shortest lived spending pledges in history.

Yesterday was a warm-up game for the election, and it showed that the Tories are operating in a fundamentally benign media environment and against a government that is punch-drunk. The government doesn’t even seem to know which side of the Prime Minister’s dividing lines it is meant to be on. Oh, how Ed Balls must wish he was at No 11 rather than the Department for Children, Schools and Families.


Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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