The health secretary says one thing,the PM says the opposite
Theresa May said today that ‘nothing has changed’ in relation to Conservative proposals on social care. Despite what looked like a screeching u-turn, she maintained that the introduction of an absolute limit on what people pay is consistent, in principle, with what was outlined in the manifesto.
Unfortunately, on the morning of the manifesto launch, her health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that complete opposite when speaking to Nick Robinson on the Today programme.
Asked about the social care payment cap included in the last Tory manifesto, Hunt confirmed that the Conservatives were dropping the proposal. He went on:
“Not only are we dropping it, we’re being completely explicit in our manifesto that we’re dropping it.We’re dropping it because we’ve looked at this proposal and we don’t think it’s fair.”
So, to clarify: May believes that the possibility of a cap is implicit in the manifesto, while Hunt believes the document is ‘completely explicit’ that the cap is being dropped. And May thinks a cap is consistent in principle with the rest of the policy proposed by the Conservatives, while Hunt believes it’s unfair.
Even before today’s u-turn, Jim Pickard of the FT wrote that Conservative ministers had been left in the dark over the mansion tax. Senior figures like Hunt will not be happy that their explicit defence of the policy have now been trampled in the mud.
At least one head will surely have to roll. The question is, will that be Hunt’s? Or that of Nick Timothy, the unpopular author of the policy and May’s closest adviser?Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.