Ignorant or lying? Cameron claims he has “never heard of” adviser who was responsible for health in Witney

David Cameron has claimed he had “never heard of” controversial health adviser Mark Britnell — despite the fact that Britnell was previously the most senior official overseeing NHS services for his constituency of Witney. The prime minister was attempting to distance himself from remarks that the NHS would be “shown no mercy” in its privatisation after Scrapbook’s coverage of the comments went viral last week.

At Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, Cameron told MPs:

“I’ve never heard about this person in my life.”

Mockingly, he then claimed he had “done some research” which linked the then senior NHS manager to the previous government:

“He was appointed by Labour to one of the ten Strategic Health Authorities set up by Labour.”

Shamingly for Cameron, the health authority in question was South Central, which covers his own constituency of Witney. Britnell was appointed as the authority’s first ever chief executive when it was set up in 2006. If Cameron ignored this significant re-organisation of the NHS in Oxfordshire, he must surely have heard of Britnell as a key player in efforts to build a new hospital in his constituency, meetings for which he attended in person?

The Prime Minister is either lying or neglectful of his constituency.


  1. Josh
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Cameron also claimed that Mark Britnell was a Labour Advisor which was untrue – he was a Civil Servant.

  2. Simon
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Is this the best you can do, if it is you would have been better advised to not bother.

  3. Beerish
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Shocking isn’t it? This government continues to make it up as it goes along, I weren’t that big of a fan of the previous government but by god do they make em look like professionals!

  4. Radical Rad
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t he also say that a practising GP, and former Labour MP who was running a GP consortia in London was fully in favour of Lansley’s NHS reforms? This was refuted by the GP a couple of days later.

    This happened during the PMQ’s where Cameron told Angela Eagle to ‘Calm down dear’ so maybe got missed in the furore. He is not a good statesman, and a far from honourable leader.

  5. LBJ
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Speaking as a Labour member, this is a poor attack relying on false-indignation and ridiculous expectations of politicians who are, after all, human beings. Do you really expect anyone in a very senior political position to remember every senior official that was in post four years ago?
    Cameron quite rightly has better things to do than name memorising – for example, trying to get a lot better at running the country than he currently is. On our part, this is opposition sniping for the sake of opposition. I would rather we spent our time developing a programme for government to allow us to in the next election.

  6. Jossy
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    As a GP in Oxfordshire, it is utterly inconceivable that Cameron would not have had many contacts with Mark Britnell who was the most senior NHS manager in Cameron’s patch. If he hadn’t known him or been in contact, he would not have been doing his job.

  7. Richard
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    “Is this the best you can do”

    Touched a spot did it Simon, learning that Scameron has been caught red-handed again?

  8. John Fossey
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    This blog is a bit rubbish isn’t it. It’s a sort of poor lefty man’s Guido Fawkes, with none of the wit, quality journalism or genuine interest. Just slightly sneery with a student union type mentality, bereft of originality and mired in bitterness.

  9. Posted May 19, 2011 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    @John Fossey, @Simon: I must say, I am rather enjoying the influx of trolls we have had recently. It’s obviously a corollary of our increasing traffic because, as you point out, we’re so crap. And ironic you should bring Guido into it, John, as he’s on record as a fan of Scrapbook.

    @LBJ: Ignoring the issue of who “we” are, any MP worth his/her salt keeps tabs on personnel changes at the top of large statutory bodies in their area. Britnell wasn’t any old NHS manager, he was the most senior in Buckinghamshire. It’s almost like Cameron saying he didn’t know who the chief executive of Bucks council was in 2007. And you need to understand the possible political implications here. Cameron may have misled parliament.

  10. Jame Rees
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    The Liebour party….lying again!

    Would you adam and eve it!

  11. John Fossey
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Well Guido might like it, and you might think I’m a troll, but I like political blogs of all colours where there is genuine wit and entertaining comment.

    This is really very poor, childish with quite a nasty edge, not uncommon of course amongst left wing bloggers.

    Perhaps it’s an age thing.

  12. Posted May 19, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    @John: Yes, perhaps it is an age thing. One day I hope to be mature enough to leave weak, baseless comments on blogs after I’ve followed a link from Nadine Dorries.


  13. Posted May 19, 2011 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    …and at least we permit you the luxury of commenting — unlike Nadine!

  14. John Fossey
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Laurence, I came from here actually, via Guido:-


    As you are aware, anyone can set up a blog and copy and paste items from the real media, and then post childish ‘opinion’ on that appropriated content.

    This blog would garner more respect if it actually did something original.

  15. Jacob
    Posted May 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    This is a excellent blog Laurence, keep up the good work. You seem to be hitting a nerve with some.

  16. Posted May 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Hitler also hit a nerve with some

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