EXCLUSIVE: Hunt forces ‘lobbied for Health appointment three months ago’.

‘The new health secretary personally intervened to encourage the controversial takeover of NHS hospitals in his constituency by a private company, Virgin Care. Frustrated by delays to the £650m deal earlier this year, he pushed NHS Surrey officials to sign quickly…’

Plans afoot for Hunt’s next job even as Cameron cleared him

Former Culture & Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt was being ‘actively touted’ for the job as NHS boss from the start of July this year, The Slog has learned from Whitehall and media sources.

Within days of giving Jeremy Hunt ‘a clean bill of health’ on May 31st last, it has been disclosed, Prime Minister David Cameron mentioned Mr Hunt’s name in a discussion with colleagues about the future of Andrew Lansley. To the dismay of at least one senior intimate, it is alleged, the Conservative leader accepted an observation from advisers that Hunt’s toxicity was now too close to him (given their equally deep involvement with the Murdochs) but insisted that he could not be “seen to climb down” over his confidence in the beleaguered Culture Secrtary.

I understand that by the middle of August, his promotion to Health Secretary was “a done deal”. And around 22nd August, he gave an interview to the Mail on Sunday in which he “seemed extraordinarily confident about what lay ahead”. The interview when it appeared confirmed this in spades.

People close to the situation remain tight-lipped (or genuinely baffled) about the source of support for Mr Hunt. But one  journalist who has been close to events surrounding the new Health Secretary for some time observes, “There is without question a consortium of older Tory supporters and MPs who not only see Cameron as a disaster, but also believe they must have Hunt in a key position. As it happens, they view [Education Secretary Michael] Gove in exactly the same way. But the composition of this group is a movable feast. Very Right Wing is one way to put it, but whoever they are, their security is skin-tight”.

One Whitehall source – entirely new to me – was slightly more forthcoming this weekend:

“You can see the way the wind is blowing on this one. Senior officials use the term ‘business friendly’, but it’s a euphemism. I read your piece on ‘body-snatchers’ and it struck a chord. I would privately call it direct business sponsorship.”

I’m posting this new article slightly later than envisaged today because two MSM pieces have caught my eye this morning. They do tend to support the whistle-blower above’s vision of the future.

In the Mail on Sunday, a lead item accuses Michael Gove over ‘a potential conflict of interest over school meals after it was revealed that his constituency party has received nearly £50,000 in donations from a major shareholder in the Domino’s Pizza company…an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches has discovered the reforms have produced a drastic decline in the take-up for school meals –  now only 33 per cent at primary schools and less than half  per cent of pupils at secondary level eat in school canteens…[there is also]…a disturbing new trend for fast food chains – of which Domino’s is one of the most aggressive exponents – to exploit pupils’ dissatisfaction by opening premises close to schools….The Domino’s chain is a significant supporter of Education Secretary Michael Gove, [especially] Moonpal Singh Grewal..[who] is also chair of Michael Gove’s Constituency Party’.

Somewhat nearer to the opposite end of the political spectrum, The Observer this morning comes up with Jeremy Hunt and a Virgin Media deal in his own constituency. It seems the new health secretary personally intervened to encourage the controversial takeover of NHS hospitals in his constituency by a private company, Virgin Care. Frustrated by delays to the £650m deal earlier this year, he pushed NHS Surrey officials to sign quickly.The Virgin deal went through, despite concerns being raised in the local NHS risk register about the impact on patient care ‘following the transfer of management from the NHS’.
Regular Sloggers will know that there is already a trail of gravy on this particular front. Virginia Bottomley was a former Health Secretary and MP for SW Surrey, who now represents the interests of private healthcare in the House of Lords. Jeremy Hunt sold his Hotcourses services to the British Council while Ms Bottomley was there. He is now MP for SW Surrey and Health Secretary in the House of Commons healping Virigin healthcare. Mathematically, the chances of those two parallel career paths happening by chance are billions to one against. Dear old pals, jolly old pals.
There is an emerging trend here that gets harder and harder to ignore with every week: the British Government is in dire straits and deep debt: as I pointed out in yesterday’s post here, it is ripe for a takeover bid. And that takeover bid is in play.

30 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Hunt forces ‘lobbied for Health appointment three months ago’.

  1. Virginia Bottomley was involved in the Pindown investigation, which was all swept under the carpet and the victims treated like human scum, same as they are doing with the Haut de la Garenne cover up. I know that because I am one of them and I am furious about what they have done.

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CC0QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhansard.millbanksystems.com%2Fcommons%2F1991%2Fjun%2F03%2Fchildrens-homes-staffordshire&ei=e1NMULHdIaWc0QXc54DAAg&usg=AFQjCNEG0jjyI2XRFqizrMHz_ZY0WLtD7g&sig2=WXG6ZN7azXnij5342Qf2Eg

    “It examines in detail allegations that known adult sexual offenders were on occasion permitted contact with children in a home, and that county council officers arranged for a young person for whom they had responsibility to obtain accommodation in a house owned by a convicted sexual offender…The report also criticises Staffordshire’s supervision of arrangements known as “fundwell”. Under those, from the mid-1970s until 1987 a council officer set up and developed a network of voluntary organisations and private companies which in some instances contracted their services directly back to the social services department. The district auditor is undertaking a further investigation into financial aspects of those arrangements.”

    • Zoompad, I am well & truly stunned. I had never heard of this ‘Pindown’ before in my life. However I know first hand that the practices under this term happened. There was (not sure if it’s still there) a children’s home secure unit called Redsands in Nantwich whereby children from surrounding districts where shipped out to if they where deemed ‘too disruptive’ in a regular children’s home department. Those techniques happened. I know. I was there. I lived and breathed it. I was placed in care due to a deceased father & a schizophrenic mother with an alcohol problem. An only child with a dysfunctional extended family who had no interest in taking on a kid. I saw many atrocities you wou would not believe but was led all my life that this was normal should you end up banged up in one of these places. Wow. Indown. Happened all over Cheshire children’s homes. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Sorry John to go slightly off topic.

      • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I like that, and it’s true.
        I actually don’t think this is off topic. There’s a money trail from Fundwell, just like a trail of slime that slugs make.

  2. http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CDMQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.politicsandcurrentaffairs.co.uk%2Fworld-events%2F43857-how-big-labour-backer.html&ei=d1hMUNemDsGX1AXnuoEo&usg=AFQjCNH85aX8hX9Vc3OQp9VaETQM_dGt6w&sig2=9WPZqjdxwzzqf-Ok_-668g

    How big Labour backer is a jobbing builder who knows NOTHING about his £200,000 donation
    By JONATHAN OLIVER – Last updated at 23:21pm on 24th November 2007

    A builder who lives in a former council house in Newcastle and “can’t stand” Labour has been named as one of Gordon Brown’s biggest donors – prompting fresh questions over the party’s finances.

    Ray Ruddick, who drives a battered Transit van, is officially listed as having contributed more than £104,000 to the national party’s coffers since Mr Brown became Prime Minister less than five months ago.

    His contributions, combined with those of a woman he is linked to, make him Labour’s third biggest donor under Mr Brown, behind Lord Sainsbury who gave £2million and Anglo-Iranian businessman Mahmoud Khayami, whose latest donation in September was £320,000.

    Since 2003, Mr Ruddick’s total contributions to Labour are listed as £196,000. But standing outside the semi he bought for just £12,000 and wearing a paint-splattered fleece top, the 55-year-old initially told The Mail on Sunday he had no recollection of ever giving to the party.

    However, Mr Ruddick works closely with David Abrahams, a wealthy property developer who is a prominent figure in the North East Labour Party.

    He was in the front row when Tony Blair made a speech to activists in his Sedgefield constituency in May announcing his decision to quit as Prime Minister. Last night, 53-year-old Mr Abrahams, the son of a former Lord Mayor of Newcastle, refused to say whether it was, in fact, him who funded the donations.

    The Labour Party refused to discuss what checks they made before accepting Mr Ruddick’s donations, saying: “We are totally satisfied that these donations are in line with the rules.”

    But the Tories called on Labour to give a full explanation as to how a builder with modest means and no interest in politics could come to be one of the party’s leading sponsors.

    Conservative frontbencher Chris Grayling said: “There is clearly something extremely unusual about all of this. Given the fact that Gordon Brown promised to bring a fresh approach to British politics, he and the Labour Party need to give a pretty clear explanation of the circumstances surrounding these donations.”

    The disclosures follow a Mail on Sunday investigation into the latest list of Labour donors, published on Tuesday. It shows that in the last financial quarter Mr Ruddick and a woman listed as Janet Kidd both gave £80,000 on the same day in July.

    Nor is this the first time that the pair have donated, having contributed a grand total of £381,850 in the past four years, including a combined £62,000 just two days after Mr Brown became Prime Minister on June 27.

    Mrs Kidd, who is believed to work as a secretary for Mr Abrahams, is also listed as a £5,000 donor to Harriet Harman’s successful Labour deputy leadership bid this year.

    When first approached by The Mail on Sunday at his home on Thursday and told that political donations had been made in his name, Mr Ruddick said: “Has there? I’m not making any comment.”

    When we returned yesterday he again initially declined to talk, before driving to Mr Abrahams’s house. Then, after explaining he was scared of losing his job, he said: “I can honestly tell you that under no circumstances have I made any donations to the Labour Party.”

    He said neither he nor Mrs Kidd had heard of the donations until The Mail on Sunday started making enquiries. ” There’s quite a possibility that Janet and myself have been set up,” he said.

    Asked if he knew David Abrahams, he said: “I’m not saying either-or. I cannot go into this any more. I do not know the ins and outs of it.”

    Asked about the donations in his name totalling £196,000, he said: “You obviously know that with me coming from a council house, there’s no way that’s possible. You’re barking up the wrong tree.”

    Neither he nor Mrs Kidd were interested in politics and neither could afford to donate vast sums, he said, adding: “I’ve got my mortgage to pay. I’ve never voted in my life. I can’t stand Labour. I can’t stand any politicians.”

    He said Mrs Kidd worked as secretary to Mr Abrahams, adding: “Her husband’s not happy with her. We work together. She’s under a lot of stress.”

    Mr Ruddick’s Sixties-built three-bedroom semi stands on a busy dual carriageway in the working-class Blakelaw district of Newcastle. Land Registry records show that he bought it for £12,000 seven years ago.

    Friends call him a “jobbing builder”, but Companies House records list him as a director of four property companies where Mr Abrahams is the co-director.

    In some cases Mr Ruddick, Mrs Kidd and Mr Abrahams are listed as sole directors of the same firm.

    Mrs Kidd, 56, refused to come to the door of the £170,000 semi-detached home she shares with her husband, Michael, in Whickham, a modest suburb of Gateshead, to discuss the donations.

    Mr Abrahams, who made a £5,000 political donation in his own name to Hilary Benn’s failed deputy leadership bid, is no stranger to controversy.

    He was selected as Labour’s candidate for William Hague’s seat of Richmond in North Yorkshire for the 1992 General Election.

    However, the local party ousted him months before the Election following claims that he had misled members about his marital status.

    According to newspaper reports at the time, Mr Abrahams attended his first selection interview with a woman and a child who were said to be his family – although he was not married. At the time he said he had been a victim of a “smear campaign”.

    The same year Mr Abrahams, a former Tyne and Wear councillor and son of one-time Lord Mayor of Newcastle Bennie Abrahams, faced a Crown Court trial for illegally evicting a tenant from a flat he owned. He was cleared of all charges.

    Mr Abrahams is listed in Companies House as a director of six companies, all based in Newcastle. These are: Park View Property Investments, Acorn Residential Estates (North Tyne), Acorn Residential Estates (Durham), Acorn Commercial Developments (Northumbria), Foxlow and Webfast. Mr Ruddick is also either a director or secretary of five out of six of these companies. Similarly, Mrs Kidd holds an official position in most of Mr Abrahams’s firms.

    Mr Abrahams runs his businesses from the old family home in the upmarket suburb of Gosforth, but neighbours say they rarely see him there. He has knocked two substantial semi-detached houses into one and added extensions.

    The combined property would be worth about £900,000.

    The address Mr Abrahams gives at Companies House is a flat in a mansion block in fashionable St John’s Wood, North London.

    The Mail on Sunday yesterday put a number of questions to a lawyer who contacted us on behalf of Mr Abrahams.

    We asked if Mr Abrahams had contributed to the Labour Party and we requested details of the dates and amounts.

    We also asked if Mr Abrahams had provided the money for the donations made by Mr Ruddick and Mrs Kidd.

    The lawyer stated that Mr Abrahams was not prepared to reply because he had not been given sufficient time to do so.

    Last night – eight hours after initially saying he did not know about the donations – Mr Ruddick gave a different version of events. He said that he and Mrs Kidd had, in fact, made the most recent payments to the Labour Party.

    Mr Ruddick said: “I made donations to Labour on that day which totalled £80,000. Janet also made the same size donations on the same day. These are the first payments either I or Janet have ever given to Labour.”

    But, strangely, he also repeated his statement: “I do not like the Labour Party or politicians.”

    He would not say why they had made the donations. And he said other donations made in their names in recent years had been paid for by other individuals, whom he declined to name.

    A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission watchdog said: “Under the Election Act 2000 a person giving money to a party on behalf of someone else must inform the party they are doing so.

    “In turn, the party must provide that information to the Electoral Commission. This is in the interests of ensuring transparency in funding of political parties.”

    The Labour spokesman added: “The Labour Party upholds the highest standards. We have been receiving donations from these individuals for some time.

    “These donations have been declared in full to the Electoral Commission and are from permissible donors. We are totally satisfied these donations are in line with the rules.”

  3. And whats more, you’re not who you are pretending to be either. You’re4 just using that drunk ridden sot’s name to try to throw the scent. Well it won’t work.

  4. Pingback: John Ward – Exclusive – Hunt Forces ‘Lobbied For Health Appointment Three Months Ago’ – 9 September 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  5. I am pretty convinced that through his liasons with the Murdoch empire, Hunt must have something really big and nasty on Cameron, who must be dreading the Brooks trial to come. I would not choose Jeramy Hunt as my Rear Gunner against the Boris J nightfighters if he was the last air crew available. Of all the latest reshuffling of ministerial deck chairs, this one was the most nonsensical, unlikely and least liable to lead to future peace and prosperity within the NHS.

    I think Cameron still believes that he does not need to call an EU referendum until at least the next due date of the UK General Election. He needs to avoid Tories not getting a majority and Lib Dems bedhopping to Labour in the inevitable coalition break up a EU referendum would cause. So he must be desperate for the EZ to limp along for another three years…….which must be looking stunningly less likely day by day….hence we have yet another politician exquisitly and painfully painting themselves into a corner.

    Never mind German taxpayers being up in arms about ECB buying up existing and future Toxic Soverign Bonds….let us not forget that the UK is a 14% shareholder in the ECB………If Draghi starts exposing the ECB to massive potential losses or Euro printing, I suspect the clamour in he UK for a referendum, far from only among the Tory right, will become deafening….

    if Cameron fails to hit the referendum button at exactly the right moment, (I believe in the next 12 months) the Tory Right conspiritors will certainly be queuing up a la Murder on the Orient Express. Why do I think Mr Hunt might be one of the first to raise his dagger ?

    • Why do we assume Mr ‘unt has something ‘on’ our leader? Is is not possible these school chums (along with Draper, BoJo and Nathan Rothschild etc.) are working in concert?

  6. The thing I find strange about you socialists is that you are meticulous in pointing out the failings of government bureaucrats, yet you continue to argue for taxation and deficit spending, thus arguing for their right to rule us…a strange ideological inconsistency

    • Totally lost me on that, Max…who are the ‘you socialists’, how does recognising someone is a tool relate to taxation to pay for a country’s needs, and how does accepting that tax is necessary to provide all sorts of what we now see as normal and necessary mean arguing for anyone’s right to rule?
      Or are you one of these divide and conquer trolls designed to jam up the proper discussion? Apols if not, but seems like there’s a lot of agro on this site these days, and I don’t think anyone needs it………

      • 1: you socialists refers to the author and people agreeing with him
        2: “recognizing the need to tax” also means you recognize the need for bureaucrats, which means you recognize the need for people who achieve their position without any of the rigorous discipline of the private sector. If you believe in taxation (extraction of property through the threat of force) you are submitting to being ruled. The ideological inconsistency arises when you in turn endlessly complain about how you’re rulers aren’t up to scratch, how they are immoral, cheats liers etc etc…even though its you that support the idea that puts them in power

    • OK, thanks, I sort of get it…..so if we do away with Taxation, in order to do away with the b’crats, then we go back to every man for himself, and the ‘best man’ wins, like what is supposed to happen in the rigorous discipline of the private sector. But doesn’t WHO you know help, in the private sector? So how do we know the best person is succeeding in each particular role? With no taxation there will be no NHS, Police, Education etc….like 200 years ago. I seem to believe there were tools in power then, albeit as Bishops, Lawyers, Land Owners etc.
      I submit to being ‘ruled’ because I believe society has to try to look after everyone, to some extent…..the Paralympics has proved that weakness can be a strength. But I have never classed myself as a socialist, just simply believe that we all owe it to ourselves to try and succeed, better our lot for our children, treat others as we wish to be treated, and sleep easy at night.
      It’s all relative, I suppose, as to how happy you decide to be………

      • Bishops, lawyers, kings, feudal overlords, regional warlords – are all forms of government.
        Yes there would be no NHS, police, “education”…that would mean people could start getting what they need for a reasonable price at last. So less publicly funded protecting of elites (the police) and more catching rapists, murderers etc; less 3rd world death traps at the price of first world luxuary, more affordable heathcare thats not lumped onto the next generation in the form of debt; less day care plus statist propaganda (public education) more community classes and stronger families. Hardly a world of every man for himself I’m describing – more one of voluntary, respectful interactions

      • ‘So less publicly funded protecting of elites (the police) and more catching rapists, murderers etc'; WHY SO?

        ‘less day care plus statist propaganda (public education) more community classes and stronger families’……PIGS flying……not until we take responsibility for our own. ( I have ! Ma living with us, feeding the local old folk, doing jobs for them, being there when needed..) Not sure how taking away the state will make people lovely again…..

        ‘voluntary, respectful interactions’….All for that, didn’t you pick that up from my responses? But I seem somehow to be a realist at this time, and not a Utopian……

  7. Bloody Virgin again !

    Branson will attack anything that has public funding involved, won’t he? And it looks like he has the Tories in his pocket, too. Did Greening go ‘off-message’ when she awarded the West Coast franchise to First Group?

    But more seriously, this looks more and more like the Chinese kleptocracy piece I first saw yesterday. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-chinese-kleptrocracy-works-2012-6

    Apologies for posting the link again, but it appears more relevant than ever.

    How many governments and ministers have been subverted by money? Mandelson is the obvious first look, but there are clearly many, many more in the UK. This really is starting to develop a bad odour, isn’t it?

  8. O/T
    # Morningstar

    I said Peter Hitchens had his own personal agenda for giving his article last Sunday a particular slant, I just didn’t know what it was.
    This is from the bottom of his article this week

    ‘Peter Hitchens will be at the Henley Literary Festival at 4.30pm on Sunday September 30 to talk about his new book, The War We Never Fought: The British Establishment’s Surrender To Drugs.’

  9. What we need is an anti corruption agency with the power to put the fear of god into anyone in public service and business, go wherever it wants and acquire any information it wants about those who govern us and those who give themselves power over our lives such as the politicians, banks and cartels. There would have to be a way found to keep these people out of corruption’s way of course and that wouldn’t be easy but think of the benefits.

    The powers that be want to inveigle their way into every aspect of our activities, why can’t we do the same to them?

    Imagine, police, bankers, politicians, lobbyists, vested interests, press , all forced to operate with transparency and integrity.

    I would vote for anyone willing to set up such a body.

  10. Pingback: THE ESM’s ARTICLES: today’s must-read | A diary of deception and distortion

  11. So they are applying the Chatham house rule to the extreme – tight lipped – We will be none the wiser- it feels as if we are being governed by a secret society – on their terms- and the country is being brought to heel- freedoms are being reduced- extinguished-
    They are martinets- every single one of them- clip heeled martinets!

  12. The TV programmes “Yes Minister” and “The Thick of it” are written to make us laugh at government stupidity / duplicity / corruption ( as did “Spitting Image”). None of these programmes have changed public complacency. The general public just shrug at it all.
    I believe Robert Harris’ book “The Ghost” and subsequent film may have gone some way to make people think, and challenge Bliar’s planned return to our hearts. How about something similar here. Someone bringing it home by writing a TV play with thinly-veiled characterisation which shows how these callous b*******s ruin ordinary lives, the ordinary life of a TV watcher. Anyone out there up for it?

  13. Whilst parents’ of profoundly disabled children in Surrey go without the help they so badly need due to community care shifts being left uncovered, Virgin Care are holding a lavish party for its staff at Mercedes Benz world this Christmas.

    It’s great to see Virgin Care has got its priorities right and the privatisation of the NHS is going well.

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