New email data showing the Department of Health under the Labour government attempted to stop details emerging of a hospital scandal makes Andy Burnham's position as Shadow Health Secretary "untenable", according to the Tory MP who instigated the release of the details.
Steve Barclay requested the information from the Care Quality Commissions (CQC) watchdog, relating to Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Barclay said that Burnham, who was Health Secretary at the time, was "putting pressure on the regulator to water down its concerns".
But Mr Burnham insisted the emails showed only that "my concern stemmed from the fact that CQC/DH rules had been broken.
"Further, the note records that I ordered a press release, in accordance with proper process, be issued later that day."
More top news
Three others died on the day of a sightseeing helicopter accident at the Grand Canyon.