Apparently at the Lib Dem conference in Gateshead last weekend, Nick Clegg tried to claim that the NHS Reform bill is strictly Tory.
This is of course not true. While it originates with the Tories, and will obviously benefit their donors, the Liberal Democrats are directly and very publicly responsible for ensuring that the bill will pass – even though it was not part of the original coalition agreement, was not even on the Tory manifesto, and has been comprehensively rejected by both the general public and the NHS professionals who would be required to implement the changes.
The emergency motion that Dr Evan Harris had proposed for debate Sunday morning, to have the LibDem conference vote to drop the bill, was defeated because Nick Clegg’s office instructed Shirley Williams to put forward a competing motion.
While the defeat of the Shirley Williams motion has been billed as a defeat for Clegg, in fact Nick Clegg won as soon as the motion his office had drafted had been chosen for the emergency debate Sunday morning: Continue reading
A record-breaking 172,475 people have signed Dr Kailash Chand’s e-petition to drop the NHS Reforms bill.
David Cameron promised once upon a time that any e-petition that got more than 100,000 signatures would get a debate in the House of Commons, but he evidently meant “any e-petition that Tories can support without going against the interests of our donors“.
At the Liberal Democrat conference today:
2.21pm: Nick Clegg has won his first battle of the conference. According to Channel 4’s Michael Crick on Twitter, Lib Dem activists have chosen to debate the Shirley Williams health motion tomorrow – the pro-leadership one – instead of the rebel motion calling for it to be withdrawn or defeated.
2.27pm: The Shirley Williams health motion got 309 votes. The rebel “drop the bill” one got 280 votes.
On Tuesday 13th March, the e-petition will have a House of Commons debate and the House of Lords will have a 3rd-reading debate on the Bill.
If the Bill becomes law, while it will not apply to the NHS in Scotland (or in Wales) Scots travelling in England will have to reckon with the possibility they may not get emergency treatment on the NHS. Continue reading