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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.”

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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.