DoH denies ‘sacking’ Lansley aide

By staff

A senior Tory aide to health secretary Andrew Lansley has reportedly lost her job after criticising the deputy prime minister.

Jenny Jackson, a special adviser to Mr Lansley, was fired for an email sent to journalists after Nick Clegg signalled his support for “substantive” changes to the health and social care bill, Sky News reported.

It said Ms Jackson had highlighted the way Mr Clegg’s remarks contradicted his earlier comments about the proposed reforms.

A Department of Health (DoH) spokesperson “categorically” said Ms Jackson had not been dismissed but, when asked whether Ms Jackson had sent the email or been stripped of some responsibilities, would not offer any further comment.

The story underlines ongoing tensions within the coalition about Mr Lansley’s NHS reforms.

Conservative backbench opinion is hardening against Mr Lansley making dramatic retreats in the face of staunch Liberal Democrat opposition.

Writing for the ConservativeHome website, Nick de Bois warned that “we are in danger of compromising too much”.

“The first thing we should stick with is our core principles on reform, but we also have to stick with, and show our support for our health secretary,” he wrote.

“Andrew Lansley is an excellent health secretary, who has deep and broad support on the backbenches.

“He believes in the NHS. He believes in these reforms. And now is the time for us to show that we believe in him too.”

Ministers will decide where to make concessions after huge opposition to the paused legislation’s plans to impose a market dynamic on the health service after Professor Steve Field issues his report, expected next week, on the findings of the ‘listening pause’.