By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com May 21 2002 12:00 AM ET
Reuters reports that while Elton John may be one of British prime minister Tony Blair’s most prominent showbiz supporters, the out singer is no fan of the politician’s AIDS record. John told the United Kingdom’s Sky News on Monday that he is “disgusted” by what he sees as a failure of Blair and his government to do more to stop AIDS. “They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves,” said John. “I hate to say that, because I did vote for them, but I’m disgusted with the way the health service is operating.” John was granted a knighthood in 1998 for his charitable work, including a foundation that has raised £24 million for AIDS treatment and prevention. “We [in Britain] had a great record on AIDS when we started, but that record is now not as good as it was under the Thatcher government,” John continued. “You should be ashamed of yourselves--you’re Socialists, or supposed to be.”
A spokesman for Blair responded, “Obviously, the prime minister respects enormously the commitment of Elton John to fighting AIDS and the work he has done,” adding, “Far from cutting funding for HIV/AIDS treatment, care has increased year on year.” Spending on AIDS care in the United Kingdom, per the spokesman, rose from £251.9 million in 1997-1998 to £331 million in 2001-2002.