The Coalition Government has just now defeated by 314-260 votes an attempt by five backbench Lib Dem MPs — Andrew George, John Pugh, Adrian Sanders, Greg Mulholland, and David Ward — to halt the controversial Health & Social Care Bill.
Their move came in the form of an amendment to this Labour motion:
That this House notes the e-petition signed by 170,000 people calling on the Government to drop the Health and Social Care Bill; and declines to support the Bill in its current form.
The Lib Dem 5 proposed the following amendment, which was accepted by Labour:
Line 2, leave out from ‘Bill;’ to end and add ‘declines to support the Bill in its current form; and calls for an urgent summit of the Royal Colleges, professional bodies, patients’ organisations and the Government to plan health reforms based on the Coalition Agreement.’.
Here’s what Greg Mulholland, Convenor of the Lib Dem Backbench Group, had to say about their move:
“There has been considerable concern with Government’s Health and Social Care Bill from both those within the NHS and from those who use it. I have made clear on previous occasions that I am not willing to support the Bill in its current form and that is why I have put my name to this Lib Dem Amendment. The Bill should now be pulled and interested parties and colleagues should come together and plan reform of the health service, in line with the collation agreement, instead of pushing ahead with these reforms.
“Pushing a Bill through in any area, never mind in one so important as the NHS, with so many professional organisations and medical professionals opposed is not a sensible or acceptable way to make policy and it is time to get people round the table and find a different and acceptable way forward.”
* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from May 2007 to Jan 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.