Future Forum chair Professor Steve Field has hit back at claims reportedly made by an ex-Downing Street adviser that the listening exercise on the health bill was ‘just a tactic’ the Government used to push through the reforms.
Professor Field said he was ‘furious’ at reports that James O’Shaughnessy, a former adviser to David Cameron, claimed that the Government’s listening exercise was a sham. O’Shaughnessy is reported as claiming that the Government used the pause as ‘just a tactic’ to drive through the health bill with its ‘fundamentals’ in tact.
But Professor Field labelled the claims as ‘complete nonsense’. Writing on social networking site Twitter he said:
‘Complete nonsense – never heard of him – independent and if you read the reports you will see very challenging – not anonymous.’
Responding to questions from Labour peer Lady Thornton on how he felt about the claims, Professor Field said:
‘I am furious – I was appointed to lead an independent group – independence guaranteed at first meeting with PM. [We] acted independently, met with politicians of all parties, coordinated reports without interference and have rigorously defended our independence.’
‘If they had wanted a report that just rubber stamped the original Bill then I wasn’t the one to ask! We were robust.’