Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Date of Proceeding: 23.05.2007
    Reference: 460 c1364
    Member: Lilley, Peter
    Title: Secretary of State for Health
    Description: I am grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. On the subject of weasel words, does she understand why Opposition Members sometimes find it difficult to put full credence in all the figures that she uses? That was illustrated yesterday, when she told my hon. Friend the Member for Bromsgrove (Miss Kirkbride), who asked about the recruitment of nurses from Africa, that, because of the Government’s uniquely ethical policy,””we do not take nurses from…Africa.”-[Official Report, 22 May 2007; Vol. 460, c. 1089.]”

    When I pointed out that the Government have issued 50,000 work permits for nurses from Africa since 2000, her defence was that it did not really count because they came in via agencies rather than directly to the NHS and that that was difficult to stop. Can she tell us what is uniquely ethical about circumventing one’s promises in that way and telling the House that we do not take nurses from Africa when we have given out 50,000 work permits? Why is that so difficult to stop when it is the Government who give out the work permits?