Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Andrew Lansley

Andrew David Lansley, CBE, MP (born 11 December 1956) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom and Secretary of State for Health. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Cambridgeshire since the 1997 general election, and was Shadow Secretary of State for Health from June 2004 until becoming Secretary of State for Health in May 2010. Lansley's Health and Social Care Bill 2011, introducing major reforms to the NHS, is one of the most controversial plans of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, resulting in strong opposition from both the Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association.
He was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010.

Early life

Born in Hornchurch, Essex, Lansley was educated at Brentwood School and the University of Exeter, gaining a BA in politics. His father, Thomas, worked in a pathology laboratory and was co-founder of the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine and chair of the Institute of Medical Laboratory Scientists.
Before entering politics, Lansley had "a promising career in the civil service". Lansley worked for Norman Tebbit for three years as his principal private secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry. This encompassed the period of the IRA's 1984 Brighton hotel bombing at the Conservative Party Conference in which Tebbit was seriously injured. Lansley and others are praised by Tebbit for their support at that time.
Lansley went on to become more fully involved in politics. In 1990 was appointed to run the Conservative Research Department. He ran the Conservative campaign for the 1992 General Election, which he describes as one of "his proudest career achievements" and for which he was awarded a CBE. He suffered a minor stroke in 1992, initially misdiagnosed as an ear infection, but made a full recovery save from permanently losing his sense of "fine balance".

Member of Parliament

Lansley sought to enter parliament and was selected for the South Cambridgeshire seat where he was subsequently elected as an MP in 1997. He immediately joined the House of Commons health select committee.
At the 2001 election he again took on a strategy role as a Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party. As part of his duties Shadow Ministers had to clear the timing of their announcements with Lansley. He fitted them into a timetable known as the 'Stalingrid'. The 2001 election was not a success for the Conservative Party and party leader, William Hague, resigned in its wake. Iain Duncan Smith, the new leader, offered Lansley a position after the election but was turned down and, until Michael Howard became leader, Lansley was a backbencher.

Shadow Cabinet

After Howard's election as party leader, Lansley soon returned to the Conservative frontbench. He served as the Shadow Secretary of State for Health. In his post he developed policies centred on using choice to improve the National Health Service, and was author of a chapter in The Future of the NHS.

Secretary of State for Health

After becoming Prime Minister in May 2010, David Cameron named Lansley as Health Secretary in the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Proposed reform

In January 2011 Ministers published the Health and Social Care Bill, detailing planned reforms that will pave the way for GP consortia to take over management of the NHS from Primary Care Trusts. Prime minister David Cameron said "fundamental changes" are needed in the NHS. But doctors leaders believe that GPs could simply have taken charge of PCTs instead - and got the same results. The reforms will pave the way for groups of GPs to take control of the NHS budget, the consortia will take charge of about 80% of the funding, they will be in charge of planning and buying everything from community health centres to hospital services, however, some specialist services such as neurosurgery will be provided by the national board, the consortia will take charge from 2013, although pilots are beginning to start.
In a letter to The Times, BMA chairman Hamish Meldrum, Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter and the heads of Unison, Unite and others said the speed and scale of the reforms proposed risked undermining the care of patients by putting cost before quality. Criticism of the reform had been mounting ahead of the publication of the Health and Social Care Bill on 19 January 2011.
Lansley’s white paper on the NHS has led to him being the subject of an unflattering hip hop track and video by rapper NxtGen with the chorus "Andrew Lansley, greedy / Andrew Lansley, tosser / the NHS is not for sale, you grey-haired manky codger," which has now been viewed over 250,000 times on YouTube and which was picked up as one of the theme tunes to the anti cuts movement and spawned several placards at the March for the Alternative in March 2011. The video, partly paid for by Unison features NxtGen rapping about Lansley's proposed GP commissioning policy, his relation to the expenses scandal and the controversial donation he received from private health company Care UK. Lansley has responded with the statement he was "impressed that he's managed to get lyrics about GP commissioning into a rap", but "We will never privatise the NHS".
Following the widespread criticism, on 4 April 2011, the Government announced a "pause" in the progress of the Health and Social Care Bill to allow the government to 'listen, reflect and improve' the proposals.
On 13 April 2011, 96% of 497 delegates at the Royal College of Nursing conference backed a motion of no confidence questioning Andrew Lansley's handling of NHS reforms in England. Later that day, Lansley met with 65 nurses at the same conference, and apologized by saying "I am sorry if what I'm setting out to do hasn't communicated itself."


Conflict of interest

While in opposition as health spokesman, Andrew Lansley accepted a donation of £21,000 from John Nash, the chairman of private healthcare provider Care UK and founder of the private equity fund Sovereign Capital, which owns several other private healthcare companies, to help fund his private office, leading to allegations of a conflict of interest. Such companies stand to be the biggest beneficiaries of Conservative policies to increase the use of private health providers within the NHS.

Obesity controversy

Andrew Lansley has also gone on record as saying "people who see more fat people around them may themselves be more likely to gain weight. Young people who think many of their friends binge-drink are likely to do so themselves."


Andrew Lansley wrote a blog entry on the Conservative Party website on 25 November 2008, which claimed the "good things" from a recession included people being able to spend more time with their families. He was later forced to apologise.

Parliamentary expenses

In the Parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009, Lansley was accused of 'flipping', or redesignating, his second home, after claiming for renovation of a rural cottage prior to selling it. It is claimed that he then 'flipped' his second home designation to a London flat, and claimed thousands of pounds for furniture. Lansley responded to the claims by stating that his claims were "within the rules".

Health policy

Lansley has also courted controversy by putting fast food companies such as McDonald's, KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry.

Personal life

Lansley's wealth is estimated at £700,000.
In 1997 Lansley left his first wife, Dr Marilyn Biggs, with whom he had three children. He has two children with his second wife Sally Low. He is a member of the Church of England.


Lansley's wife runs a PR firm that works on behalf of food and drug companies. She advises them on how to “establish positive relationships with decision-makers".

Food advertisers

Until December 2009, Lansley received £134 an hour from a firm of advertisers that represents clients such as Walkers Crisps, McDonalds, Unilever, Mars and Pizza Hut; Private Eye suggests a link between these activities and Lansley's desire to see a more lightly regulated food industry. The same publication suggested a similar link to a Department of Health report on Red Meat in which the only products listed in the report found to contain suitable amounts of red meat to merit a "Good" rating were a McDonald's Big Mac, and a Pepperami (manufactured by Unilever).

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