After being dumped in last week’s ministerial reshuffle, the veteran voiced concerns over the economy and revealed Margaret Thatcher wanted to scrap the NHS
PAParting shot: Ken Clarke has left his role as Justice Secretary
David Cameron is on course to lose the next election, says Ken Clarke.
The veteran Tory revealed how spin doctors attempted to silence him, voiced concerns over the economy and revealed Margaret Thatcher wanted to scrap the NHS.
The extraordinary parting shot came after the Tory grandee was dumped in last week’s ministerial reshuffle .
Mr Clarke was a Cabinet minister under Ted Heath, Thatcher and John Major as well as the current Prime Minister.
Asked if he saw evidence that the Tories can chalk up the election victory that Mr Cameron failed to achieve last time round he said: “Not enough.”
“It is one of the lines I often use with my colleagues: I belong to a Conservative party that used to be able to win elections.”
Mr Clarke said that he had enjoyed being Justice Secretary after the last election but appointing him to the job “turned out to be a slight mistake”.
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“I was very pleased to go to justice … and I had lots of views on it, but unfortunately my views didn’t coincide with No 10’s.”
The PM’s spin doctors responded by briefing that he would be sacked and trying to gag him.
“I had a great row with them when they told the producer of Question Time that I was ill and they were able to provide a replacement.
“It never occurred to them that I could ring up the producer.
“She said: ‘I’m told you are ill.’ After that, I got even more freelance.”
The MP warned that the current economic recovery is “fragile” and there is a “long, long way” to go before the UK had deliver sustainable growth and compete with emerging powers like China.
PAMargaret ThatcherFight: Margaret Thatcher ‘wanted to scrap the NHS’
“It’s not firmly enough rooted on a proper balance between manufacturing and a wide range of services and financial services,” he said.
“I mean, we have this mystery of why we can’t get productivity to start rising again.”
Mr Clarke said the best jobs he held were Health Secretary and Chancellor. The first brought him into conflict with Thatcher who “wanted to go to the American system”.
“I had ferocious rows with her about it. She wanted compulsory insurance, with the state paying the premiums for the less well-off.
“I thought that was a disaster. The American system is hopeless… dreadful.”
Mr Clarke persuaded her to open up the NHS to competition instead.