Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Andrew Lansley first among equals?

Andrew Lansley has unwittingly shown what the problem with the current devolution settlement.

A leaked memo shows that he has written to the Welsh Government to complain he only found out about the its policy of removing and replacing faulty PIP breast implants through the media. 

Now he has a point to make because there us a memorandum of understanding which calls on the different governments to

* to alert each other as soon as practicable to relevant developments within their areas of responsibility, wherever possible, prior to publication;

* to give appropriate consideration to the views of the other administrations; and to establish where appropriate arrangements that allow for policies for which responsibility is shared to be drawn up and developed jointly between the administrations.

But Lansley seems to think that he is "first among equals "and that he is not just the English equivalent of those running Health in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland but somewhat superior to the others.

But I suspect Lansley believes the memorandum means Ministers in the devolved governments should contact him not the other way around. and they shouldn't contact each other either.

The Welsh Government has said the English Health Secretary is “arrogant and patronising” after he demanded to be notified in advance of policies in Wales.

Indeed if Lansley was so concerned about the actions of  Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services Lesley Griffiths in not complying with he memorandum,. Why didn't he seek to get a joint statement from his Northern Ireland and Scottish counterparts.

If they had done so I don't think there would be any argument.

Doesn't this show that he still thinks of himself of being in charge of health for the whole of the UK with subordinate Ministers in the devolved nations.

Perhaps Lesley Griffiths can tell us if Lansley has written to her saying why he has not decided to replace all the faulty PIP implants in England?

Communication works both ways and I suspect Lansley like most Westminster Government Ministers think it should only come from diktats from them.

P.S. It seems Peter Black is backing Lansley over this can it be more to do with his irrevocable move to the Tories than a real concern that the Welsh Government had not behaved correctly

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