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Andy Cowper has claimed in an HPI ARTICLE that a meeting of NHS campaigners with John McDonnell made the resignations of Heidi Alexander and other Shadow Cabinet members “quite inevitable, even had the referendum been won by Remain”.
In his story, Andy Cowper writes that Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell had been carrying out a:
“semi-secret” “unofficial” “predatory review in health (and presumably many other areas), supported by Momentum and advised by various far-left individuals, many of whom are apparently not Labour Party members”
He asserts: “this awoke many MPs to the nature of their leadership: the referendum result brought the tipping point forwards.” This description of events is inaccurate.
THE FACTS ARE AS FOLLOWS
Defend the NHS groups have had meetings with Heidi Alexander MP and John McDonnell MP, to discuss the state of the NHS and offer opinions on solutions, based on their experience of the impact of patients and staff of NHS cuts and privatisation in their areas.
Campaigners met with Heidi Alexander in January, to present information about what was happening to the NHS in their areas and to ask her for her views on how best to protect NHS staff and services.
You can read more about this story, find out the real events leading up to the strange events we find ourselves in. The political arena is a volatile place right now and we find ourselves in the mire. Who'd have thought the Darlomums would have marched their way into something like this?
2014 the Darlomums were the darlings of the Labour Party.
They used us as a moment of rejoicing at conference.
We didn't affiliate with them.
Now Labour MPs leading the coup are using us again.
But no one is rejoicing.
Our full rebuttal to the editor of Health Policy Insight, Andy Cowper
The meeting with John McDonnell was in April and was in response to an invitation from his office that said :
“We’ve been organising monthly campaigner meetings with John to give campaigners an opportunity to keep us in the loop with your campaigns and to see how we can help. Each meeting has been themed round a different issue and in April we’re going to focus on the NHS.”
Heidi Alexander was at the meeting campaigners subsequently had with John McDonnell, on 14 April 2016.
An email from John McDonnell’s office on 12 April 2016 informed the campaign groups that Heidi Alexander would be present and that he would be delayed because of urgent House of Commons business. An audio recording exists of the meeting.
These campaigners’ meetings with Heidi Alexander and John McDonnell have not involved writing Labour health policy.
NHS campaigners told Andy Cowper they did not recognise his description of events, and asked to see evidence for his claim that the group's meeting with John McDonnell amounted to a subversion of Heidi Alexander’s position and role, that made her and other Shadow Cabinet members’ resignations inevitable.
Andy Cowper then posted redacted extracts of his documentary source material.
This source material is the notes of the initial (and so far only) meeting between Health Campaigns Together, John McDonnell and Heidi Alexander. He placed the extracts of these notes in a self-contradictory editorial.
His editorial says
"The documentary source material is from the minutes of a grouping of health campaigners. Two separate individuals sent me the same document. I have copied the relevant extracts of the text below...
To be extremely clear: this grouping of health campaigners is perfectly legitimate, and is not the 'secret process' I described."
Despite his disclaimer at the top of his editorial that the “documentary source material” is not about the "secret process" he alleges existed,
"The notes ... refer to the creation of this secret process..."
So this legitimate grouping of health campaigners is not part of the secret process, but the notes of their meeting refer to the creation of the secret process. Spot the contradiction?
He goes on to assert that the document unambiguously describes policy making that doesn’t follow Labour policy formulation processes, and that this was “confirmed by multiple sources” that he identifies as
“individuals who worked in and for the former shadow health team.”
We ask Andy Cowper to withdraw his inaccurate story and to post this rebuttal on his Health Policy Insights website.