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House of Lords given extra day with Health Bill

7 October 2011

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The Lords have been granted an extra day in Parliament to scrutinise the Health Bill, it has been revealed.

John Healey, who has stepped down from his post as Shadow Health Secretary, told GP Business the government is now under “enormous pressure” now it has “lost the first battle” ahead of the Health Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords.

It was expected that the bill’s second reading would take place in its entirety on 11 October, but thanks to fierce opposition the reading has been allowed to carry over until 11am on 12 October.

The Lords Shadow Health Team has also announced there are 92 peers who intend to speak in the House.

Shadow Health Minister Baroness Thornton said the last time the Lords showed interest on this scale was the debate over the abolition of hereditary peerages.

Thornton told GPB she is not optimistic the first motion to throw the bill out will be successful but claims “there is a real chance” the motion to set up a select committee will be passed.

Healey has said he chose to resign from his post to spend more time with his family.

In a letter to Labour leader Ed Miliband he wrote: “frontbench politics makes great demands on us all, but even greater demands on our family…It is time to put them first.” 

Miliband replied: “I know this has been a difficult and very personal decision for you, but in both government and opposition you have served tirelessly and with distinction.

“As shadow health secretary you have consistently made the argument that the government plans for the NHS not only represent a broken promise, but a worse deal for patients and an unnecessary bureaucratic upheaval.

“In holding David Cameron and Andrew Lansley to account you have not only spoken for the public in defending the NHS, but crucially you have built a broad coalition of support against the government plans among health professionals and bodies.”