Wes Streeting warns of ‘nightmare in Downing Street’

Wes Streeting has warned of a “nightmare in Downing Street” if the Conservatives are re-elected.

Speaking at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop, Nottinghamshire on a visit with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow health secretary dodged a question about whether he had a “pet policy” from the 2019 manifesto which he wanted in the 2024 document.

“Look, I’m really proud of the manifesto that Labour’s put forward, because not only is it fully costed and fully funded, every promise in there is a promise we can keep and the country can afford,” Mr Streeting said.

“That really matters when – if there’s one thing that’s in even shorter supply in our country at the moment than money – is trust in politics and politicians.

“So, being able to knock on doors, look voters in the eye and credibly say, ‘if you choose change with Labour, we will deliver it, we will put more police officers on the streets, we will put more teachers in our classrooms, we will cut NHS waiting lists with more appointments’, this is real change, practical change, affordable change.

“The only question now is on Thursday July 4, are people going to choose change with Labour or wake up to the nightmare on Downing Street of an unprecedented fifth Conservative term with more chaos, division and incompetence.”

In the run-up to the 2019 election, when Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won an 80-seat majority, The Sun warned of “a nightmare on Downing Street”.

Labour has pledged to use “spare capacity in the private sector to get patients diagnosed faster”.

Senior political figures rowed over the proposal during ITV1’s seven-way debate on Thursday, when Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “There is very limited capacity in the private sector and we shouldn’t be using it if it guts more capacity from the NHS.”

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting meet patients and staff at Bassetlaw Hospital in Nottinghamshire
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow health secretary Wes Streeting meet patients and staff at Bassetlaw Hospital in Nottinghamshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said a future government should “keep privatisation out of the NHS and it pains so many people to see Labour’s Wes Streeting talking so warmly about bringing the private sector into the NHS”.

Asked whether the plan risked future private finance initiative-style repayments future years, Mr Streeting told the PA news agency: “With Labour, our NHS is not for sale.

“With the Conservatives, the future is now very clear – record numbers of people now going private, being seen faster where they can afford it, those who can’t afford it being left behind in a two-tier healthcare system, and that’s not the future that Labour wants to see.

“The last Labour government delivered the shortest waiting times and the highest satisfaction in the history of the NHS.

“We did it before, we will do it again, starting with 40,000 more appointments every week, evenings and weekends, paid for by clamping down on tax avoidance and closing the non-dom loopholes that the Conservative Party has fought so hard to keep.”