Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has defended the Conservative party's pledge to 'save' district general hospitals.

Speaking at last week's Conservative party conference, Mr Lansley said leader David Cameron's promise of a 'bare-knuckle fight' over district general hospitals reflected anger over poor evidence to support change and a lack of local involvement.

'We are not opposing change but we are definitely going to make sure that we will fight for change to be made on evidence and for the decisions genuinely to be owned and made locally,' Mr Lansley said at a King's Fund debate.

The Conservatives and Labour have converged on some issues, such as choice in GP and maternity care and the use of competition. But Mr Lansley said he was not in favour of allowing councillors to sit on primary care trust boards, an idea floated by Labour as it did not square with his party's pledge to hand day-to-day running of the NHS to an independent board.

'I'm not keen on reducing political interference from the centre and replacing it with political interference locally,' he said.