Government press officer tried to prevent questions on Hunt's whereabouts ahead of doctors' strike

Darren McCaffrey interviewed Norman Williams

A Department of Health press officer has been caught on camera trying to prevent a reporter asking why Jeremy Hunt was not giving interviews yesterday - the evening before today's national doctors' strike.

In the interview, conducted on behalf of Sky News, ITV News and the BBC, reporter Darren McCaffrey asked former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Prof Norman Williams, where Mr Hunt was last night.

"He's in the department, at his desk, working hard," he replied.

McCaffrey then began to ask Prof Williams' view on the Health Secretary's apparent media blackout before doctors took to the picket lines.

But he was interrupted by the press officer, off-camera, who jumped in to warn McCaffrey off "doing all this nonsense" - and said that a list of questions had been agreed beforehand.

McCaffrey immediately rejected this suggestion, turning back to Williams and pointing out that in a democracy he should be allowed to ask any pertinent question of the person the department had chosen to represent them in addressing concerns.