Theresa May mocks Bob Kerslake after NHS Trust resignation

Posted On: 
13th December 2017

Theresa May has mocked Bob Kerslake over his links to the Labour party, after he sensationally quit a senior NHS role in protest at government under-funding. 

Theresa May criticised former civil service boss Lord Kerslake at Prime Minister's Questions today

Lord Kerslake stepped down as down as chair of the King's College NHS Trust on Sunday evening, saying ministers were "unrealistic about the scale of the challenge" facing the health service.

It later emerged, however, that he had been asked to step down two days prior over the deteriorating financial situation of the Trust, which has now been placed in special measures by the regulator, NHS Improvement.

Tory MPs savage ex-civil service chief Bob Kerslake over ‘politically-motivated’ resignation

Bob Kerslake was asked to resign from NHS role two days before he quit in protest

Former head of civil service Bob Kerslake quits NHS role over government under-funding

Today the Prime Minister said he had been right to resign and joked that his role as an advisor to the Labour party on debt and deficit was linked to the poor financial state of the Trust.  

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, she said: "I think Lord Kerslake made the right decision in stepping down as chairman of King's College Hospital.

"The financial situation at King's College has deteriorated very seriously over recent months and we have now placed the Trust under special measures...

“They [NHS Improvement] called the situation 'the worst in the NHS' - perhaps it's no surprise Lord Kerslake, I understand, is advising the Labour party on matters of debt and deficit."

The former head of the civil service also face a coordinated attack from Tory MPs yesterday, who suggested his resignation had been "politically-motivated".

Monmouth MP David Davies asked “Isn’t what we have here, is one of Labour’s top advisers jumping in a blaze of politically-motivated publicity before being pushed out for woeful financial mismanagement?”  

Other MPs also piled in, with former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan suggesting that Lord Kerslake was not entirely committed to the role given that he held “seven remunerated roles other than that chairmanship and four non-financial positions".

However, many Labour MPs leapt to the crossbench peer’s defence, blaming years of underfunding to the NHS for the Trust’s poor financial state.  

Helen Hayes said: “Instead of scapegoating a well-respected public servant, will the minister listen to his wake up call and look again at a full review of the finances for Kings College Hospital and give the trust the resources that it needs?”