Joan Bakewell enters row over Tory tombstone ads

Joan Bakewell has launched an attack on the Tory's tombstone poster. It follows Andrew Lansley's admission that Cameron did not know about private talks on social care.

Broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell has launched a stinging attack on the Conservative’s tombstone poster campaign which attacked a mooted solution to the funding of Labour’s social care plan. Bakewell’s remarks came hours after Andrew Lansley admitted that he failed to tell David Cameron about his private talks on social care with Health Secretary, Andy Burnham.

Speaking on BBC’s ‘The World at One‘, Bakewell, who in November 2008 was made a ‘Voice of Older People‘ by the Government, said:

“You know we’ve had a lot of pious talk recently about how we must salvage the reputation of parliament because of the expenses scandal, but the scandal is still going on, because people are telling lies.

“That poster, which was that Gordon Brown wants 20,000 when you die, is merely one of a series of options being put forward as a way of stopping people having to sell their houses, people don’t want to have to sell their houses as they get older and this option, paying 20,000 out of your estate when you die is just one proposal put forward in good faith. To turn it into this grotesque poster is an insult to everybody and it damages the case for older people and their serious care.”

Bakewell also criticised Gordon Brown who, she said, “preempted a very sensible policy that was introduced in a green paper in July, put out to consultation. And then in order to have something to offer conference Gordon invented this new bill, which is currently in the Lords – the Personal Care at Home Bill, which rather prejudges all the thoughtful developments that were going forward.”

Earlier today, Andrew Lansley appeared on the Today programme where he discussed the private talks held with Andy Burnham and Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb before Christmas to thrash out a consensus on social care. The Times is reporting that:

“Mr Lansley, meanwhile, confirmed today’s report in The Times that he was acting alone when he approached Mr Burnham and Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat spokesman, about talks.

“He has been accused of betraying trust by suddenly breaking off talks and attacking plans that were only put forward as an option in a Green Paper.”

Paul Waugh‘s blog reports that:

“A Tory MP tells me that Burnham was so furious at the Tories’ RIP poster attack (on the very green paper option that had been discussed with Lansley secretly) that he confronted Lansley in the voting lobby on Tuesday.”

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