Britain

Piers Morgan in MAJOR U-turn over Boris Johnsons NHS surcharge move

PIERS Morgan has praised the Prime Minister’s U-turn on the controversial NHS migrant worker surcharge, having spent days severely criticising the government.

In a tweet, Mr Morgan called the surcharge a “bad idea” and said it was “to the Prime Ministers credit” to have scrapped it. The NHS migrant worker surcharge was a policy that meant NHS staff from overseas would need to pay £400 a year – due to rise to £624 in October – to use the health service that they work for.

Boris Johnson was facing increasing calls, even from MPs and senior figures within his own party, to drop the surcharge which he had initially decided to keep.

Former Tory party chair Chris Patten called the fee “immoral and monstrous”.

Following the governments decision to drop the charge, Mr Morgan wrote: “Having been heavily critical of @borisjohnson throughout the crisis, let me now say this: leadership is sometimes about admitting youre wrong & scrapping a bad idea – as with the NHS migrant worker surcharge.”

Sir Starmer had raised the issue of the surcharge in a Prime Ministers Question Time session on Wednesday.

He asked the Prime Minister: “Does the Prime Minister think that its right that care workers coming from abroad and working on our front line, should have to pay a surcharge of hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds, to use the NHS themselves?”

The Prime Minister responded that he had “thought a great deal” about the surcharge, but said that it provided the NHS with funding amounting to around £900 million.

He said: “Its very difficult, in the current circumstances, to find alternative sources,” and said that keeping the surcharge would be “the right way forward.”

However, Johnson was forced to drop the surcharge yesterday amid mounting pressure to do so.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also posted a video to Twitter, in which he celebrated the scrapping of the surcharge as a “victory for common decency”.

He said: “We cant go out on a Thursday night and clap out health workers and our care workers and yet, when the come from overseas, then surcharge them for using the NHS.

“I challenged the Prime Minister about this yesterday, at Prime Ministers Questions, asked him to reconsider.

“Hes now done a U-turn. Thats a good thing – a victory for common decency.”

Piers Morgan has repeatedly called on the government to send ministers and officials on to ITVs TV programme Good Morning Britain, which he co-hosts.

Earlier this week, he called government ministers “spineless” for not being willing to appear on the show and face questioning.

He said on Twitter that the reluctance to appear on the show amounted to a “boycott”, but said the GMB team would continue asking for ministers to appear as guests.

He also tagged Prime Minister Boris Johnson in one of his posts.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has been urged to appear before the Commons Liaison Committee before parliament returns next month, the BBC reports.

A letter by the committees chairman, Sir Bernard Jenkin, to Johnson reads that it is “of crucial importance” that the government is held to account considering the state of the country.

Sir Jenkin said that Johnson appearing before the committee would allow for more scrutiny that would be available in the Commons chamber, the
BBC adds.

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