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The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has strongly refuted claims that his government’s proposals to sell NHS hospitals to private health care companies means the NHS is being privatised:

Just because we’re selling hospitals to private companies and patients will have to pay for their treatment, it doesn’t mean the NHS is being privatised. If you look closely at what we said before the election we promised no part of the NHS would be privatised and I stand by that promise. Privatisation is not the same as privatised. For a start, our proposals have an ‘N at the end not a ‘D’. And there are as many as 2 syllables more in our plans.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, whose party is supporting the Prime Minister in the NHS reforms, also denied he was cheating the electorate:

Although we promised not to privatise the NHS, everyone knows that as Liberal Democrats we never stand by our promises. Nobody takes our pre-election pledges seriously. Least of all us.

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