Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    The Secretary of State for Health (Dr. John Reid): I beg to move, To leave out from House” to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

    notes that record investment in the NHS has to be linked to reform, and that this investment and the devolution of power to the front line require greater accountability; congratulates the Government on its record of making the NHS more transparent through the development of performance indicators; welcomes the Government?s development of such indicators in consultation

    7 Jan 2004 : Column 270

    with patients and staff; congratulates the Government on giving responsibility for NHS performance monitoring to the independent Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI), which reports direct to Parliament; and welcomes CHAI?s commitment to developing new and more reflective indicators in partnership with representative bodies and the NHS itself.”

    This is a good old week for conspiracies. I thought at one stage that the hon. Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo) was going to demand an investigation by John Stevens into the murky deeds that he outlined. Let me make two things absolutely clear at the start. First, I?and all Labour Members?take allegations of this nature very seriously.

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): You do not.

    Dr. Reid: Yes, we do.

    Mr. Lilley: Then why are you laughing at it?

    Dr. Reid: Because we do not treat them naively?I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his useful intervention. We are not naive about why such allegations are sometimes made. Today?s Opposition day debate is not really about the failings of any Minister, the NHS, the star rating system, or NHS staff. We are under no illusion about why the debate was hyped up, as it was before the holidays. Incidentally, no regard has been paid to the two replies that have been given to the previous demands for an investigation, which amazes me, but I shall come back to that. Today?s debate is about the failure of the Tory party?