Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cameron Dismisses Tory Critic of NHS as an 'Eccentric'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cameron Dismisses Tory Critic of NHS as an 'Eccentric'

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor

DAVID CAMERON scrambled to reassure voters that his party backed the NHS today as Labour seized on attacks on the service by a high-profile Tory MEP.

The Conservative leader dismissed Dan Hannan as an "eccentric" after he appeared on US television warning Americans not to copy Britain's statefunded system of healthcare.

The health service has come under fire in the US as President Obama fights for his healthcare reforms. In the latest attack, Fox News suggested the NHS was a "breeding ground for terrorists" because Islamic radicals had worked as doctors.

Jerry Bowyer of the National Review magazine said it was easier for terrorists to hide inside the health service as it was a "state bureaucracy".

Mr Hannan told US TV viewers that the NHS "puts the power of life and death in a state bureaucracy" and said: "I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

He now faces disciplinary action by the Tory chief whip in Brussels. Conservative MEP group leader Timothy Kirkhope told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "An impression has been given in the US about the views of David Cameron and the Conservative party which is not accurate."

Lord Mandelson, standing in for Gordon Brown this week, said most Britons would be appalled a Tory MEP had gone to America to "slag off the NHS". …

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