• Sensitive announcement on A&E made two days before poll
  • Cynical Jeremy Hunt timed news to help local Tories
  • Conservatives knew about A&E ‘stay of execution’ before hospital

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt’s office appear to have broken strict ‘purdah regulations’ by making a sensitive departmental announcement just two days before an election. His Tory special advisers have briefed regional media on a stay of execution for a their local A&E department — with the news taking the NHS hospital trust and his Whitehall communications team by surprise.

With Tories struggling to cling onto Redbridge Council in Thursday’s poll, leader Cllr Keith Prince told the press:

“This has told us there is a definite stay of execution. It is fantastic news and I would like to thank [Tory MP and government PPS Lee Scott] for all he has done … It is very clear we’re are getting closer to securing the A&E in Redbridge.”

The purdah period typically starts six weeks before elections and is designed to prevent policy announcements being abused for short-term electoral gain.

With a Conservative photo call outside King George Hospital earlier this afternoon, it seems that the local Tory campaign machine knew about the announcement even before the local NHS Trust or Hunt’s Whitehall communications team.

DH press officers were are referring all enquiries on the matter to Hunt’s spads while the local NHS Trust were forced to rush out a statement at the last minute.

At least Hunt hasn’t had problems with his SpAds before. Errrrrr.

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