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Field ‘furious’ over claims listening exercise was ‘just a tactic’

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.'