In the summer, he used all his experience as a former head of corporate communications at Carlton TV to steer a path through the anger and acrimony generated by his reforms to the National Health Service (NHS).
He whisked up a listening exercise and an independent report, spoke some conciliatory words, and persuaded first MPs and then the House of Lords to wave through his Health and Social Care Bill to its current position on the brink of becoming law.
But just as the debate over the NHS appeared to be calming down, it has been abruptly reignited by a leaked policy document critics of the reforms describe as a ‘smoking gun’, demonstrating the Government’s intention to dismantle the state health system.
The document doesn’t sound a great deal. It is called ‘Developing commissioning support: towards service excellence’.
But its contents are explosive enough that the British Medical Association, which until now had been prevaricating over its response to the Government’s bill, has come down on the side all all-out opposition, with a series of attack ads planned soon.