New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Politics
29 May 2011

What Cameron said to Clegg in Westminster Hall

“Best not talk about it [the NHS] now, eh, we'll talk about it another time, eh?”

By George Eaton

Courtesy of the Mail on Sunday’s resident lip-reader, we now know what David Cameron and Nick Clegg were discussing as they waited for Barack Obama in Westminster Hall: the NHS. Below is the full and revealing transcript.

Cameron: “Yeah, but most people want to change it [the NHS].”

Clegg: “Well, what you mean is, you want to change it! I mean . . . we’re worried about that.”

Cameron: “That’s one of the problems.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Clegg: “Yeah, but . . .”

Cameron (interrupting Mr Clegg curtly): “Best not talk about it now, eh, we’ll talk about it another time, eh?”

Clegg: ” . . . Yeah, but he’s been saying that . . . “

Cameron (interrupting again and clearly annoyed): “Well, it’s nothing to do with him now!” [Thought to be a reference to Andrew Lansley.]

Clegg: “I know that, talk to you later.”

Cameron’s apparent dismissal of Andrew Lansley (“It’s nothing to do with him now!”) confirms that he has taken personal charge of the reforms and sidelined the Health Secretary. Even though Clegg voted for the Health and Social Care Bill and boasted that the reforms were in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, it’s also clear that his objections are sincere.

It was only recently that Clegg quipped to Cameron: “If we keep doing this we won’t have anything to bloody disagree on in the bloody TV debates.” There seems little danger of that now.

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change