Video: UK government minister heckled by pensioner at Downing Street
ANGRY London pensioner June Hautot confronted British government minister Andrew Lansley with cries of "shame" and "lies", as the Health Secretary arrived at Downing Street for talks on his NHS reforms.
Mrs Hautot, a retired union worker from Tooting, south-west London, accused the UK Health Secretary of trying to “privatise the NHS”, as she blocked his entry to the summit.
As he made his way through a crowd of demonstrators, Mrs Hautot refused to stand aside and appeared to prod her finger at the Health Secretary, saying: “I’ve had enough of you.”
Mr Lansley had to walk around her to get into the meeting with the Prime Minister and health chiefs over the future of the NHS.
It was described on Twitter as Mr Lansley's 'Duffy moment' in reference to the time Gordon Brown was overheard branding pensioner Gillian Duffy a bigoted woman after she challenged him on immigration.
Later, a tearful Mrs Hautot said: “He needs confronting because they’re not listening to the majority. He said we’re not privatising the NHS and I said you’ve already started.”
Describing herself as a “concerned patient”, the 75-year-old said Mr Lansley was “gutless, a coward and has no conscience” because he failed to listen to health professionals and patients opposing the reforms.
The Health Secretary and the Prime Minister are under pressure to explain why they only invited health bodies that support the Government’s NHS re-organisation to the summit.
Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition, accused the Prime Minister of deliberately excluding his critics and adopting a “bunker mentality” over opposition to the plans.
However, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman insisted the meeting is “not excluding anyone”.
He said the Prime Minister’s aim was to meet those who are successfully pioneering the reforms “to reassure himself that is happening in the right way”.
Downing Street declined to say in advance who would be attending the summit, but said it was one of only “countless meetings” the Prime Minister has with health chiefs.
Following the meeting, Mr Cameron said he was "committed" to the Government's health reforms.
"I want it to be there looking after every family in the country, doing a really good job into the future," he said. "We had a constructive and helpful meeting, and what's clear is there are quite a few myths that we need to bust about this reform."
Mr Cameron is under intense pressure over the reforms outlined in the Health and Social Care Bill, which has lost the support of key doctor groups like the British Medical Association and the Royal College of GPs
Both organisations have both expressed concern that they were being frozen out of the talks.
Lord Owen, a doctor and former Home Secretary, yesterday accused the Prime Minister of using “divide and rule” tactics to break opposition to the reforms.