The Private Member’s Bill brought forward by backbencher Clive Efford passed its first vote in the Commons today, by 241 votes to 18.
While the opposition benches were almost full, there were a distinct lack of Government MPs in Westminster for the debate:
The Labour MPs who turned out in force were joined by ex-Conservatives UKIP MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, who were both voted in favour of the bill – which would repeal aspects of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act that they supported as Tories. Reckless had voted for the act seven times during its journey through Parliament.
Their u-turn led to a remarkable Commons speech from Dennis Skinner, in which he skewered the two right wing MPs behind him. You can watch his speech here.
Jamie Reed, of Labour’s Shadow health team, said:
“UKIP can’t run from their record of supporting increased privatisation of the NHS.
“Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell voted for the Tory Bill which put creeping privatisation at the heart of our NHS. UKIP’s MPs openly endorsed the principle of putting private profit before patient care so people won’t trust a word they say now.
“UKIP are more Tory than the Tories. Douglas Carswell has called for an ‘open market’ in health, while Nigel Farage wants a US-style insurance system. A vote for UKIP is a vote for charging and increased private profit in our cherished health system.
“People will not be fooled. They know UKIP are a danger and cannot be trusted with the NHS.”