Remember Clive Efford’s Private member’s Bill – the one designed to halt privatization of the NHS?
Well, last week it was talked out in Committee Stage – with Government members of the committee filibustering for 13 hours on the first clause alone!
Candles, crème eggs, papal bulls and nannies – Committee members introduced endless amendments and wasted hours on irrelevancies to ensure that there was insufficient time for the Bill to be discussed.
The result is that the Bill has had to be scrapped – there simply isn’t time for it before May 7.
Andrew Gwynne, one of Labour’s shadow Health ministers, summed up what happened.
Addressing the chair of the committee, he pointed out the time-wasting tactics of Tory members
‘You have missed out, Sir David, on a good 12 hours of deliberation on clause 1. Had you been in the Chair for the duration of our proceedings, you would have heard about candles and creme eggs.
We have not just heard about creme eggs. We have heard about chocolate in general.
We have heard about pizza—we have had product placement writ large. We have had papal bulls. We have had Durkheim’s “The Division of Labour in Society”. We have had nannies. We have had EU articles read out at length.
We have had a dissertation on “Erskine May”, and we have had, from the hon. Member for Bury North, much-appreciated concern for my late cat, Delilah.’
Talking out a bill in this way is the sort of activity which brings discredit on Parliament. Tories like Jacob Rees Mogg delight in it. It’s the politics of the Eton debating society. The NHS is too serious a matter to be treated in this way.
But Andrew Gwynne ended by reminding the Committee that May 7 is close – and that Labour after May 7 will do what the Bill aimed to
– restore the responsibility and accountability of the Secretary of State
And that Labour will do more – including explicitly exempt the NHS from Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
What is happening to the NHS is not something for public school debating games.
A Labour Government will give it the priority the public demands.
‘The NHS is the No. 1 priority of the public. That has been proven in all recent opinion polls. It is telling that Government Members did not oppose my hon. Friend’s Bill on Second Reading, yet now have spoken for 13 hours on one clause. They have tried to postpone proper debate on these issues but they will not be able to hide from the public on 7 May.’
To ensure a Labour Government – which shares the public’s priorities – vote for Alex Sobel on May 7 here in Leeds NW
And sign up now to help him win.