Two votes of no confidence in the government’s NHS reforms have been comfortably defeated but other developments mean that ministers face at least two further major challenges to the legislation in the final week before the bill is due to be passed.
MPs voted twice on Tuesday on motions to drop the health and social care bill after Labour held a three-hour opposition day debate inspired by a public e-petition signed by more than 174,000 people calling for the government to abandon the legislation.1
According to campaign group 38 degrees, their own petition has now been endorsed by more then half a million people, but they are still asking for more signatures before the final vote in the House of Lords on Monday 19th March:
As the Lords gather to decide whether or not to press on with changing the NHS without knowing all the risks, let’s send them a reminder. Let’s remind them that across the UK, hundreds of thousands of us know what it feels like to arrive at a hospital or a doctor’s surgery, tired, sick or frightened for someone you love. And that we know how much we rely on our NHS in those situations to give us the care we need.
Each name on our petition [standing at more than 520,000 as I write] is a reason for the Lords to think twice before gambling with the future of our NHS. It will show them that although we all know the NHS isn’t perfect, we know that it’s pretty amazing. It will remind them that when we talk about risk registers, we’re talking about threats to a health service which is the envy of the world.
This could be the final opportunity for your friends, workmates and family to stand up for the NHS before the key votes happen. So please can you forward this email and ask them to sign the petition?
Apparently Lord David Owen is delivering the petition just before the debate begins. Lord Owen has also tabled the following motion:
Lord Owen to move to resolve that the Health and Social Care Bill be not read a third time until either the House has had an opportunity to consider the detailed reasons for the first-tier tribunal decision that the transitional risk register be disclosed and the Government’s response thereto, or until the last practical opportunity which would allow the bill to receive Royal Assent before prorogation.
If the Government table a motion for Third Reading on Monday 19 March it will be moved as an amendment to Earl Howe’s motion as follows but it is essentially the same motion.
To read the full motion please click here
Here’s more from Tuesday’s Guardian article:
Writing last week after the tribunal ruled that the risk register should be published, Lord Owen urged peers to vote for his amendment on Monday. “To go ahead with legislation, while appealing to the high court, would be the third constitutional outrage associated with this legislation,” he wrote. “The first was to legislate within months of the prime minister promising in the general election that there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS. The second was to implement large parts of the legislation without parliamentary authority. The attempt to railroad this legislation through both Houses of Parliament has raised very serious questions about the legitimacy of this coalition government. Now at the last moment parliament has a chance to assert its democratic rights and the many Liberal Democrat peers, who know in their heart of hearts that this legislative procedure is fundamentally wrong, have the opportunity to stand by their principles.”
Click here to read the full article published in the Guardian.
Click here to find more information about the progress of Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill.
1 From an article entitled “Commons revolt against NHS reforms defeated: Government survives two votes of no confidence in health and social care bill but faces at least two further major challenges”, written by the Guardian‘s political correspondent, Juliette Jowit, published on March 13, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/13/commons-revolt-nhs-reforms-defeated