New leader says he did not make erroneous claim on LinkedIn that he held doctorate and party is committed to health service
Ukip’s newly elected leader Paul Nuttall has come under fire over errors in his CV and his views on privatisation of the NHS.
The MEP, who has previously called for the health service to be privatised, said his party would be “committed to keeping the NHS in public hands and free at the point of delivery”.
But in an interview on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show he said everything in politics should be up for debate, adding that at some point “years on” from now there could be talks about how the NHS is funded – citing the country’s ageing population as a factor.
Nuttall was also asked about reports that his CV included claims that he had a PhD in history from Liverpool Hope University.
He replied: “No, I’ve never claimed I’ve got a PhD. It’s not on my website. It’s on a LinkedIn page that wasn’t put up by us and we don’t know where it’s come from.”
Nuttall said he had always said he wanted to finish his PhD, which he started in 2004.
The error follows a separate claim on his personal website earlier this week that he had been a “professional footballer” for Tranmere Rovers. The club denied it and a Ukip spokesman said he had played for the Tranmere schoolboy and youth teams, adding that the embellishment was an “innocent mistake” by a press officer.
During the programme Marr read out comments from Nuttall in 2011 in which he said the “very existence of the NHS stifles competition” and as long as the NHS was the “sacred cow” of British politics “the longer the British people will suffer with a second-rate health service”.
Nuttall told Marr that “nothing should be a sacred cow in British politics. All things should be up for debate.”
A video then showed Nuttall previously describing the NHS as a “monolithic hangover from days gone by” and noting he wanted “more free market introduced into the health service” given the country’s ageing population.
Asked about these comments, Nuttall replied: “I made it clear we are an ageing population, we’re a growing population as well.
“At some point in this century, years on, we may well have to have a debate on how we fund the NHS in this country.”
Asked if the NHS would go private one day in the future, Nuttall said: “Maybe at some point, in years to come within this century we’ll have to have this debate but it won’t be under my leadership in Ukip.”
Source: The Guardian