Lansley, the former leader of the Commons, said he had been put forward for the role of UN undersecretary for humanitarian affairs but told the BBC that it was “not a given” that he would get it.
The job of the UN’s humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator has been vacated by Baroness Amos. It has been a British-held role since 2007, although it is not reserved for someone from the UK.
Mary Creagh, the shadow development secretary, said it appeared the prime minister had nominated Lansley to make up for removing him as leader of the Commons to make way for the former foreign secretary William Hague.
“UN undersecretary for humanitarian affairs is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. If David Cameron appoints Andrew Lansley to the job as a consolation prize for sacking him, it would be a betrayal of the world’s most vulnerable people. The man whose disastrous reorganisation of the NHS wasted £3bn and created a crisis in A&E is the worst possible choice for one of the biggest jobs in international development.”
There was a strong hint during the reshuffle over the summer that Lansley was being lined up for a major international role, even though he did not get the nomination to be the UK’s European Union commissioner.
During his time as health secretary Lansley oversaw the coalition’s NHS shakeup. He was moved aside for Jeremy Hunt, and then once again from his role as leader of the house when Hague stepped down as foreign secretary. In his resignation letter Lansley thanked Cameron for supporting him in his ambition to find a “challenging and important role in international public service”.
Lord Malloch Brown, the former UN deputy secretary-general and a crossbench peer, has previously said that if Lansley got the job it would be a sign Cameron had used the global organisation for a “political dumping”.
He told Channel 4 earlier this year: “This is one of the most difficult, important jobs in the world. There are millions of people in desperate situations from Ebola victims to victims of war in Syria who are highly dependent on the humanitarian activities of the UN. It’s an act of great cynicism to allow someone who does not have background and qualification in this area to be put forward.”
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