UKIP deputy chairman Suzanne Evans has hit back at Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham after he called their NHS policy “opportunistic”, in a scathing letter which calls out “Labour’s noted failure to improve” health in the UK, and their track record of privatising NHS services.
Evans’s letter was in response to Burham writing to Farage, accusing UKIP of desiring to privatise the NHS, and of wanting to make cuts to the service, inviting the party leader to respond to a number of questions about his policies on the health service.
Referring Burnham to Farage’s article in today’s Independent newspaper in which he says “The Labour Party thinks it owns the NHS. Let’s get that straight. It does so despite having been the party responsible for the privatisation of vast chunks of it”, Evans offers to meet to discuss health policy with Labour.
Taunting the Labour elite for their distance from the normal daily users of the health service, Evans wrote: “I know Labour politicians rarely meet with ordinary people, but I am happy to pass on comments made by the public to me so that you may reflect on their significance. At the same time, perhaps I can elicit an apology from you on your party’s immigration policy circa 2004, which has placed enormous strain on NHS services and more?”.
Nigel Farage wrote directly to Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday to invite him to go head to head in a debate over Europe, an offer he had already turned down on live television on the Andrew Marr show. Suzanne Evans repeated the offer, calling Miliband “chicken” for his refusal so far.
The letter in full:
Dear Mr Burnham,
Thank you for your tweets today. We are greatly encouraged that the Labour Party is so keen to hear more about UKIP’s NHS recommendations, given Labour’s noted failure to improve the system in the United Kingdom, and especially in Wales.
In response to your letter about UKIP’s policies, I direct you to Mr Farage’s column in the Independent newspaper today. Could you please lay out in full what parts of our stated policy you disagree with, and make clear why Labour privatised the NHS during its terms in office, so much so that it will cost the British taxpayer up to £300bn by the time the Private Finance Initiative agreements have been completed, as reported in The Guardian on 5 July 2012?
If you are unclear on either your or our policies, I am happy to meet with you to explain their implications for the British people in full. I know Labour politicians rarely meet with ordinary people, but I am happy to pass on comments made by the public to me so that you may reflect on their significance. At the same time, perhaps I can elicit an apology from you on your party’s immigration policy circa 2004, which has placed enormous strain on NHS services and more?
With reference to your specific questions, Mr Farage would be delighted to respond to them in full during our proposed head-to-head debate with your party leader, Ed Miliband, this side of Christmas.
So once again, and for the fourth or fifth time now… will Mr Miliband take part, or will he chicken out?
UKIP Deputy Chairman