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Tuesday 7th February 2012 | 09:38
Is Andrew Lansley on his way out? The pressure is certainly building today.
The Health Bill returns to the Lords tomorrow with a few concessions in train. But it looks like the Health Secretary is in big trouble.
Rachel Sylvester has a cracking column today in which she quotes a No.10 source saying: "Andrew Lansley should be taken out and shot. He's messed up the communication and the substance of the policy."
Another insider says:"We're back to square one. Andrew Lansley is just a disaster."
There is even a mischievous plan mooted in Downing St to put Alan Milburn in the Lords and give him the Health Secretary's job. Milburn may not be tempted by this, but if the bill were dropped, who knows?
Lord Owen last night urged the Coalition even at this late stage to dump the bill, and focus on carrying out some of its reforms in a different way.
The other problem for Lansley is that even the two bodies supporting him now think the concessions mean that GPs will be 'suffocated rather than liberated'. As the NHS Alliance and the National Association of Primary Care were among the dwindling band of supporters for the Lansley reforms, that's bad news indeed.
There are some on the Right - including Fraser Nelson and Janan Ganesh - who have long argued that Dave should kill the bill. He may not want to risk looking foolish at this late stage.
But the alternative is that this NHS reform could turn into a running sore for the rest of the Parliament and be used whenever there is a funding story or crisis.
The PM's very personal move to decontaminate the Tories on the NHS could be ruined unless he does something - and fast.
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