S of a cross-party deal on care for the elderly were blown out of the water yesterday as discussions turned into an acrimonious row on live TV.
Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley ruled out attending a conference to be held this week unless Labour dropped plans for a one-off levy on the deceased’s estates.
However, his Liberal Democrat counterpart Norman Lamb accused Lansley of “not being straight” as he had previously been open to the idea.
The angry exchange came after secret talks between the three parties collapsed. The Tories launched a billboard campaign claiming Gordon Brown wanted to impose a £20,000 “death tax” on people’s estates, a move condemned by Labour.