Pressure Mounts for Government Climb Down on Health Bill

Posted on: 8th September 2011

Commenting on the support he received from his Liberal Democrat MP colleagues on the Health & Social Care Bill, Andrew George MP predicted that the Government would have to offer major concessions if it wants to get its policy through the House of Lords.

Mr George led a rebellion of his colleagues over the two days of Commons debate, putting down over 40 amendments and supporting others. Both of his Cornish Liberal Democrat colleagues supported Mr George by refusing to support the Government in key votes last night. Indeed, 2/3rds of Liberal Democrat backbenchers rebelled against the Government during the Commons stages with 16 out of 24 of the ‘unfettered’ MPs either voting against or refusing to support the Government on key votes (whilst all 3 Cornish Liberal Democrat MPs rebelled last night at the crucial Third Reading all 3 of Cornwall’s Conservative MPs voted with the Government, as they had done throughout).

Mr George said:

“There is an underlying unease about the Bill amongst my colleagues. Although I knew I was not alone I hadn’t anticipated a rebellion on this scale. We were the architects of the NHS. We don’t want, by default, to become the architects of its demise. I believe that I was vindicated in attacking the Bill before by the important concessions achieved through the pause and listening exercise. I believe that those of us who voted to ask the Government to reflect on the folly of carrying on with the Bill in its present form will be vindicated with further concessions in the Lords.”