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The real reason Alan Johnson had to go

Forget local election results, MPs' expenses and the impending implosion of the Labour Party. Here’s the real reason Alan Johnson was moved onwards and upwards in today’s Cabinet reshuffle – he didn’t want to face a grilling by Pulse.

By Steve Nowottny

Forget local election results, MPs' expenses and the impending implosion of the Labour Party. Here's the real reason Alan Johnson was moved onwards and upwards in today's Cabinet reshuffle – he didn't want to face a grilling by Pulse.

It had taken us two years, but finally we'd arranged an interview with the health secretary. We were due to cross question him the week after next on everything general practice.

What was the thinking behind GP-led health centres? Why was Gordon Brown so determined to offer patients evening and weekend appointments?

And could he really 'not care less' which GP he saw?

Now, safely ensconced as the new home secretary, he won't have to answer any of the above.

Paranoia on our part? Perhaps. But this wasn't the first date we'd arranged to interview him. Originally, I'd been meant to interview him on Monday 27 April. Monday 27 April, you'll remember, was the day swine flu came to the UK – another perfect excuse to cancel the interview. Coincidence? I think not.

We'll be following the reshuffle throughout the day, and as soon as a new Health Secretary steps up, you'll read it here first. And of course, we'll be asking the Department for Health for an interview, to find out what they have planned for general practice.

Hopefully it won't take another two years before they say yes.

Alan Johnson, no longer Health Secretary Alan Johnson, no longer Health Secretary

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