Editor's blog 5 June 2009: from health to home office - Alan Johnson is gone, Andy Burnham is back
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Alan Johnson has been moved to the Home Office.
He has been an effective health secretary in terms of keeping the NHS out of the run of the news. Policy was left as is (or in the case of ISTCs, rowed back on) and sub-contracted to Darzi.
Who the hell next for Health? Straw is staying at Justice and Darling at the Treasury. Surely not Ed Balls?
Latest gossip (12.20) is that John Denham knocked back health and will be community secretary.
Phew. I think. Andy Burnham - former parliamentary researcher at the NHS Confederation (1997), former member of the Commons Health Select Committee (2001-3) and former Minister of State for Delivery and Reform at the Department of Health (2006 to June 2007) - is the new Health Secretary.
So we are not starting from scratch.
Met him once at DH, when the NHS Institute were launching something. Seemed OK.
How was he on Expensesgate? Well, he did have a right ding-dong with the Fees Office, and the Telegraph has implied that the tax situation over money towards his London flat purchase, which came from a tenancy-breaking sweetener on the flat he'd previous rented on expenses. Burnham says he handled everything through the Fees Office, and the story is about a "technicality".
So Confed will be interesting in Liverpool. He's a local boy. Remind me how Everton have been going at home lately?
Oh, and there will be a new ministerial council in public service delivery. Chaired by Jimmy Saville?