Abbott attacks Lansley’s links to health firms


by Newswire    
2:50 pm - May 16th 2011

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Diane Abbott MP, the Shadow Health Minister, has demanded clarification from the Tory health team of whether Andrew Lansley’s wife’s health lobbying firm, Low Associates, has held meetings with department officials, following newspaper reports on the issue over the weekend.

In response to Ms Abbott’s parliamentary question earlier this month, Simon Burns MP, the health minister, told Ms Abbott that the Health Secretary had “declared his wife’s position as Managing Director of Low Associated to the Permanent Secretary.”

However, whilst he denied that any ministerial colleagues had been involved in meetings with Low Associates, he went to suggest that checking whether the department had hosted meetings with Low Associates and their clients would cost too much money.

Ms Abbott today said:

We need to know whether there has been any kind of ‘conflict of interest’’. After all the upset about MPs’ expenses, I think it is vital for the government to be straight with people over this. We need openness and transparency.

When it comes to health policy, there are widespread concerns that the government’s approach is being driven by big businesses and private interests, which makes this issue even more significant. Key health groups and experts have walked out on policies like ‘responsibility deals’, whilst David Cameron and Andrew Lansley have drinks companies and fast food outlets writing government policy for them.

Over the weekend, Labour MP Grahame Morris, who is on the Commons’ Health Select Committee called for an investigation to see if Mr Lansley has breached the ministerial code of conduct.

From a press release

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Reader comments


Quick correction, Diane Abbott is Shadow Public Health minister, which is different to Health. She effectively shadows Anne Milton rather than Andrew Lansley.

2. Winston "roots" Chruchill

[deleted for profanity and other rubbish]

@1 Ugh. Why did you have to bring Anne Milton’s name up? It’s bad enough already that she’s my MP without being reminded of it on Lib Con :p

Sorry, but this is Daily Mail levels again. What this article is about is apparently ‘Andrew Lansley’s wife’, and the fact that her job is a way to attack him.

Sally Low (the aforementioned wife has a name and identity of her own you know) has the right to a job, and since she founded the company, it seems reasonable that she should be allowed to run it. Unless the company is founded on the back of the Conservative not-quite victory (technically the staff list would allow this) in the election, in which case this would be the scandal, then this is just a woman doing her job.

And being attacked as an anonymous wife, as if her job and her company was Mr Lansley’s business. Pathetic, slightly chauvanistic and way beneath any proper liberal (and therefore not Ms Abbot, who to be fair does not claim to be liberal). This is political gameplaying at the expence of principal.

If it was clear that Ms Low was exploiting her links to Mr Lansley, then there would be a scandal. If the company was set up because the Conservatives entered government, it might not be a scandal but it would be suspect. But if this is just a group of political insiders using their knowledge as a commodity, and there is no evidence of wrong-doing (and Ms Abbot looks to have been on a fishing trip there) then this is using a woman to attack her husband, something I’d hoped had gone out of fashion.

5. Winston "roots" Chruchill

[deleted for writing rubbish earlier]

Winston,

If you check, I allowed there are situations where relationship might be a problem, but if Ms Low set this company up before her husband was in government, then I think there is a problem here with using her career to attack him – it is not as if Low Associates specialise in health even, so this is not a straightforward conflict of interest.

I am not saying don’t look for the evidence (please do – and the civil service should have a public record of all meetings with lobbyists to make it easy to do so). I am saying this sort of insinuation of wrong doing (with no wrong doing proven…) because of the career Mr Lansley’s wife (and it was not me that introduced that terminology, but the author of the press release.

I have this wierd idea that Ms Low is allowed her own life, and should not be restricted by her husband. I believe that is called equal opportunities, and lies at the base of feminism?

7. marc dauncey

Watchman, thats a laughable argument. Her company stands to benefit, its absolutely right that questions are asked. It’s a conflict of interest and it’s the Lansey and the tories that need to prove beyond doubt that it isn’t. Judges wouldn’t be able to sit cases, if their partners had a business with an interest in the outcome of a trial. We hold politicians to the same standard. Your faux-outrage is misplaced.

And Winston “roots” Chruchill – keep your disgusting misogyny to yourself, mate. Criticise her politics by all means, but that kind of abuse has no place here.

8. marc dauncey

Even if the company was started before he took the position, one or other should resign if it conflicts with the interest of doing the best job for country. Don’t tell me there won’t be a bias. We aren’t bloody stupid, you know.

marc,

Investigate by all means – that’s what I keep saying (and the ‘too expensive’ line is not good here, as this concerns transparancy of democracy).

My complaint is the fact that attacks are being launched without any proof of wrong doing – and that the press release reduces Ms Low to ‘Andrew Lansley’s wife’, which is simple misogyny in my book. I am not to be identified as my wife’s husband, but as a separate human being. Why should the Labour party choose to ignore this principal when it suits them for political gain?

It is all very well hoping to make political capital out of this, but to do so in such a disgustingly old-fashioned way with no consideration of either the lack of evidence or the fact that they are effectively making an independent woman merely an extension of her husband is frankly depressing. Until an actual scandal emerges, perhaps we could concentrate on the things in front of us that are wrong?

10. Watchman

marc,

Even if the company was started before he took the position, one or other should resign if it conflicts with the interest of doing the best job for country.

For crying out loud! You expect the wife to resign her job because of the husband?

Or the husband, who seems to have taken the essential step of making the relationship clear to his department, should resign because of his wife’s career?

What is this? The 1950s? – my great aunt gave up her career to allow her husband to further his. I would hope we were beyond that level of stupidity now.

Clearly, if the best interests of the country are threatened, then Mr Lansley has to step down. But there is no indication of that, whilst there is a clear indication (noted by the hostile press release) that measures to address potential conflicts of interest have been put in place.

If you want to start this logic, where do you want to stop. Since Ed Milliband is married to an environmental lawyer, I presume he cannot have anything to do with environmental law? His wife might have vested interests, or represent them (remember, lawyers are like lobbyists – they work for someone else).

11. Mr S. Pill

LOL Watchman. I’d love to see you make a similar argument if this was a left-wing government gifting friends and family potentially lucrative contracts.

12. Watchman

S.Pill,

I would do if there was no evidence presented of gifting of lucrative contracts etc… I am not that partisan that I will accept misrepresentations of the evidence (I loathe the Daily Mail on that basis).

And anyway, do you accept that it is fine for someone to be attacked through their wife, with the wife anonymised and turned into an extension of the target? I find it strange how principalled socialists and liberals can ignore this sort of thing when it suits them.

Watcman the tory troll……….”Sorry, but this is Daily Mail levels again. What this article is about is apparently ‘Andrew Lansley’s wife’, and the fact that her job is a way to attack him.”

Don’t you just love the fake outrage, and the blind obedient support of all things tory by the pathetic watchman troll?

There really is no level that the tories can’t sink to that will not be defended by the tory moron trolls. The same trolls I might add that are forever carping about Labours links with the unions. I can just imagine the fuss they would make if this was a Labour minister with such massive conflicts of interests. It is now quite clear that Cameron lied about his support for the NHS. He wants to privatise it, and wants to sell it off to his financial backers. His kitchen cabinet adviser was in America last week boasting about how American private corporations should get ready to make lost of profit out of the British health system. But instead of thinking that this is a scandal, morons like Watchman defend this sleazy lying govt .

Just like he lied about his environmentalist credentials, and his claim that he would not raise VAT. Cameron has now showed his true colours on the NHS. But he does not have the votes unless the idiot Lib Dems vote with him. You would hope by now that the Lib Dems would realise that Cameron is a liar and some one who is not to be trusted. But you get the feeling that Clegg is so idiotic that he just does not understand what the tory party is really like. Certainly Cable knows what the tories are like in their vicious tribal ways.

People make a big mistake when they compare Cameron with Blair, claiming they both changed their respective parties. But Cameron has not changed the tory party one jot. Cameron is the English GWBush. Campaign as a moderate , and then once in power move hard right. It was so obvious that this is what he would do. All his speeches before he became tory leader showed he was a far right weasel.

Troll ……”And being attacked as an anonymous wife, as if her job and her company was Mr Lansley’s business.”

Troll again talking bullshit “if Ms Low set this company up before her husband was in government, then I think there is a problem here with using her career to attack him – it is not as if Low Associates specialise in health even, so this is not a straightforward conflict of interest.”

If you really believe that then you are an idiot. But I don’t buy it. You are a nasty little tory troll who defends everything the tory party does and yet pretends that you are some how neutral.

It is now clear that the Cameron plan was to sell off the NHS before the election, but to lie to the public about it. No surprise that sleazy tories where getting ready to make money off the sell off. Because that is the tory way. Welfare from the govt for the rich is what the tories like. They live off the state.

Cameron should never of made him health secretary with this massive conflict of interest. But then anything goes in the tory sleaze factory.

hypocritical tory troll ……”My complaint is the fact that attacks are being launched without any proof of wrong doing ”

That is rich coming from a tory troll who has been on a liberal site making political capital about any rumour during a Labour govt.

Hypocritical tory troll ….”And anyway, do you accept that it is fine for someone to be attacked through their wife”

The tories have been attacking Labour politicians through their wives for decades. Don’t remember you having any problem with it. Stop trying to be all high and mighty with your “ give both side a chance “bullshit. We all know what you are. A slimy dishonest tory troll.

Hypocritical tory troll again….”I find it strange how principalled socialists and liberals can ignore this sort of thing when it suits them.”

Concerned trolling at it’s worst.

17. Richard W

@ Watchman

A conflict of interest does not require evidence of impropriety as COI can exist independent of actual corruption. Therefore, denying that one acted improperly is no defence. Andrew Lansley’s wife is an independent person but I see no one saying anything different. However, he is by definition involved in an intimate relationship with her and that creates a conflict of interest through a conflict of roles for him through her activities as trust must be assumed to exist between them.

18. Charlieman

@17. Richard W: “However, he is by definition involved in an intimate relationship with her and that creates a conflict of interest through a conflict of roles for him through her activities as trust must be assumed to exist between them.”

Tut, tut, Richard W. We expect you to explain things. Simply.

19. Richard W

He as a spouse is involved in a relationship with his wife. Therefore, he has a conflict of roles as a spouse and a government minister. If the person he is in a relationship with is involved in activities that have any connection with his role as government minister that creates a conflict of interest. If she was just a friend or an acquaintance no presumption of trust would exist. However, trust be assumed in an intimate relationship such as marriage.

20. Charlieman

But that is just a minor slime trail. Interesting, of course.

21. Charlieman

@20. Charlieman: “But that is just a minor slime trail. Interesting, of course.”

These words will be more pertinent elsewhere. I cross posted by accident.

22. Winston "roots" Chruchill

[deleted for whining about blog being 'sexist' for deleting sexist comments. Also deleted for being an idiot]


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @clivemcr2011RT @libcon: Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  2. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @theneverlution2011@HackneyAbbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR via @libcon

  3. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @NHSspy2011RT @libcon: Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  4. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @NeurophysMan2011RT @libcon: Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  5. Gavin Sibthorpe

    @HackneyAbbott – nice one Di, important that Tories comes clean and show they are not up to cronyism. http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  6. Gavin Sibthorpe

    @HackneyAbbott – nice one Di, important that Tories come clean and show they are not up to cronyism. http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  7. Matt McG

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/05/16/diane-abbott-steps-up-attacks-on-lansleys-links-to-health-firms/ well well well

  8. Louis Connor

    Conflict of Interest on health reforms? Abbott attacks Lansley’s links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/HKrJwbD via @libcon

  9. Uncle Herba

    Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/mJ9ONh

  10. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @conspiracyboy2011Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/mJ9ONh

  11. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @UncleHerba2011Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/mJ9ONh

  12. Ed’s Flashman Flop? | The Pulse | PoliticsHome | Louis JR Connor

    [...] the Flashman comparison. Especially when there is ample opportunity for attack on NHS Reforms (and conflict of interest re: LowAssociates) and Chris [...]

  13. criticalpraxis

    RT @libcon: Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  14. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @criticalpraxis2011RT @libcon: Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  15. Gerardo Wright

    Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/lTfOxU

  16. Lawrence Wright

    Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/mT2sJk

  17. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @GeraWrigtravl2011Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/lTfOxU

  18. Abbott4leader

    http://www.DianeAbbott.tk RT @LawrencWrightC2011Abbott attacks Lansley's links to health firms | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/mT2sJk

  19. Natacha Kennedy

    Lansley has questions to answer about the NHS reforms http://bit.ly/kqn3zq #saveournhs

  20. Gabe Trodd

    RT @libcon: Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to health firms http://bit.ly/mwBkmR

  21. Grahame Morris

    RT @libcon: Labour's Diane Abbott steps up attacks on Lansley's links to private health firms http://t.co/AMlrAAA #saveourNHS

  22. Diane Abbott attacks Andrew Lansley’s links to health firms. « The Truth is Where?

    [...] by Newswire May 16, 2011    Find Article Here:- [...]

  23. gon ads

    Old news, but just a reminder that Andrew Lansley's wife runs a health lobbying firm, Low associates http://t.co/7QR3R9XT tories disgrace

  24. TIME FOR CHANGE!

    Old news, but just a reminder that Andrew Lansley's wife runs a health lobbying firm, Low associates http://t.co/7QR3R9XT tories disgrace

  25. cheekyfreaky

    Old news, but just a reminder that Andrew Lansley's wife runs a health lobbying firm, Low associates http://t.co/7QR3R9XT tories disgrace

  26. Tina Beelel

    Old news, but just a reminder that Andrew Lansley's wife runs a health lobbying firm, Low associates http://t.co/7QR3R9XT tories disgrace

  27. OccupySL

    Old news, but just a reminder that Andrew Lansley's wife runs a health lobbying firm, Low associates http://t.co/7QR3R9XT tories disgrace





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