Friday 11 March 2016

Lucas disappointed and baffled by Labour failure to support NHS Reinstatement Bill

Caroline Lucas was ‘extremely disappointed’  today by the failure of MPs to turn up in Parliament today to debate the NHS Reinstatement Bill after tens of thousands of people had written to their representatives asking them to back the bill. 

The Bill was only debated for around 15 minutes and wasn’t voted on. If more MPs had been present in Parliament then a ‘closure motion’ on the Bill being debated previously could have been called, thus ending Tory filibustering which delayed discussion of the NHS Reinstatement Bill.

The Labour Party did not publicly back the bill. In a letter LINK sent by many Labour MPs to constituents, the party’s MPs said:
“Whilst I support the broad objectives which lie behind this Bill, I am concerned about the scale of structural change and costs associated with any further major reorganisation of the NHS.”
Lucas said:
“It’s extremely disappointing that we didn’t have a chance to properly discuss or vote on this bill today. Though I pay tribute to the SNP and to those Labour MPs who did take the time to come to Parliament today for this crucial debate, the Tories who filibustered the bill have done our democracy a disservice. But the Labour Leadership should have done more to move this bill forward too. I had hoped they would have publicly committed to it and asked their MPs to come to today’s debate – by doing so we could have ended the filibustering and properly discussed the future of our NHS.

“The Labour Party’s stance line on the Bill is somewhat baffling. Some of their MPs back the bill, but not enough.

“On the one hand Labour's standard letter to constituents says they agree with the principles of the bill, but at the same time it suggests they say that they would remove its heart. If Labour want to gut the Bill, and take out the key provisions that save the NHS from the market, then the Labour Shadow health team, should be clear about that.

“Meanwhile, the Tory privateers, not least Andrew Lansley and His successor Jeremy Hunt can relax. So long as we leave the market in the NHS in place, the likes of Virgin Care Ltd and Optum (an off-shoot of US health giant, United Health) will find their way in. 

“The NHS is in crisis - and this week tens of thousands of people have asked their MPs to say ‘enough is enough’. But the enthusiasm of the public hasn’t been met by the political commitment that’s needed to save our health service.

“This Bill isn't going away and I urge MPs to join the campaign to reinstate the founding principles of a truly public NHS. 


Anonymous said...

Very disappointed with Corbyn and McDonnell on this one. They were both vocal supporters of the bill whilst back benchers, but apparently jettisoned some principles along with their support for the Bill when they moved into the leadership

Philip Grant said...

So now it turns out that Barry Gardiner did not even write the text of the (identical) emails which he sent to Martin and to me (and others?) last Thursday - he (or one of his assistants) just "copied and pasted" it from a draft sent out by the Labour Party to its MPs!

On first reading the message seems reasonable and sincere, but now we know that our Brent North MP does not give a damn for the views of his constituents. What example is this giving, and how will this encourage local people to "engage" with politics, and support real democracy?


Philip Grant said...

I need to qualify my statement that Barry Gardiner 'does not give a damn for the views of his constituents'.

Another blog above (see: ) shows that he does 'give a damn', and quite rightly, for the sensible views of Sudbury Court residents over the flawed decision of Brent's Cabinet (supported by a tiny majority of Brent's Planning Committee) to expand Byron Court Primary School to five form entry, when the size and location of its site make this a totally unsuitable development.