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LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MPs were criticised yesterday for having abstained from a vote on a Queen’s Speech amendment that called for the NHS to be protected from further privatisation.
Labour’s amendment was defeated by 310 votes to 282 on Wednesday night. It expressed “regret” that the Queen’s Speech did not include a repeal of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.
The motion also called for government to “restore a publicly provided and administered NHS” and protect it from privatisation in any future trade agreements.
Tory and DUP MPs, and 19 independent MPs — including former Labour MP John Woodcock — voted the amendment down.
All 19 Lib Dem MPs abstained, even though the party has called for Article 50 to be revoked on the premise that the NHS could be at risk of privatisation in any post-Brexit trade deals.
National Health Action party executive member Dr Helen Salisbury said the Lib Dems would lose “many many votes” over its whole-party abstention.
Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said he voted against the amendment as it would have called for an “extremely daft” and “massive, pointless restructuring of the NHS.”
Labour member Stuart Dillon said that the Lib Dems’ decision to abstain “sent out a message that the NHS isn’t safe in your hands.”
Mr Farron replied on Twitter: “That’s total vacuous shouty guff.”
Dr Tony O’Sullivan of Keep Our NHS Public told the Star: “The Health and Social Care Act supported by Tim Farron’s party has meant non-stop top-down disorganisation of the NHS for the last six years.
“This includes the threat of mass change with enforced clinical commissioning group (CCG) mergers and imposed integrated care system structures.
“It’s the time for supporting the renationalisation of the NHS and winning back the spirit of public service rather than pursuing party sectarianism.”
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