Tory MP husband of Test and Trace chief Dido Harding linked to anti-NHS group

The Tory MP husband of Test and Trace chief Dido Harding has been linked to a right-wing group calling for the NHS to be replaced by private insurance.

Former minister John Penrose said last month he was “delighted” to join the advisory board of 1828.

One article authored by 1828’s co-founders argued Britain should be “bold and progressive” – scrapping the NHS in favour of a system where people pay a flat rate to private insurers.

It said: “With a social health insurance system, you don’t need the state to own or subsidise hospitals, or to control policy from the centre; you simply need it to regulate the system to a satisfactory degree.”

John Penrose said ‘I don’t necessarily agree with all’ of 1828’s ideas

The group has also published articles calling for the abolition of Public Health England, which has a key role in the Coronavirus Test and Trace system headed by his wife.

Mr Penrose said: “I have written a couple of pieces for 1828 and I was asked to join their advisory board in April, but I am yet to attend a meeting.

“Like any good independent think-tank they publish a range of political ideas.

Dido Harding was boss of Talk Talk when it was hit by a scandal

“I don’t necessarily agree with all of them particularly if they contradict the NHS manifesto pledges on which I was elected just six months ago.”

Mr Penrose’s wife Lady Dido Harding was named Chief Executive of the NHS Test and Trace project by Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month.

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She was previously boss of phone and broadband firm TalkTalk when it was hit by a scandal where details of 156,959 customers were accessed by hackers.

The Information Commissioner fined it a record £400,000.



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