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Big day for coalition as MPs debate Health Bill

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The highlight of today’s Commons sitting will not be PMQs.

Instead, it will be the Opposition Day motion tabled by Labour on the Coalition’s NHS reforms.

Or, more rightly, on the Government’s NHS reforms.

Lib Dem Spring conference last week saw an angry backlash from party members and backbench MPs alike, who, while welcoming some parts of the Health and Social Care Bill, were concerned that the reforms would act against the founding principles of the NHS: available to all, free at the point of use, and based on need, not the ability to pay.

Conference backed a Motion to amend the Bill, and similar sentiments are included in Labour’s motion today.

Indeed, one phrase in Labour’s motion is directly lifted from the one passed by the Lib Dem conference.

Labour will be hoping that by tabling such a Motion they will not only be able to score political points, especially in light of the BMA’s emergency meeting yesterday.

But they will also want to show splits between Lib Dem backbenchers and Lib Dem Ministers.

More importantly, it is an chance for Lib Dem and Labour MPs alike to put forward the case for stopping the damaging aspects of the proposed reforms.

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Upcoming Week in Westminster

March 14, 2011 2 comments

Monday, Monday.

Bit of a dramatic few days since the Commons last sat. The awful earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan is a story that will dominate for some time to come, especially in regard to the nuclear debate.

The tsunami has pushed the Libya situation from the front pages, but the situation there is worsening and there have been calls this morning for the UK to arm the rebel forces. We’re expecting a statement this afternoon from David Cameron in relation to the Middle East, so there could well be an update on the imposition of a no-fly zone.

Elsewhere this week….

Philip Hammond appears infront of the Transport Select Committee this afternoon, answering questions on the impact that December’s cold spell had on the transport network. What with the snow being blamed for the poor economic perfomance in the final quarter of 2010, this is an important subject for the coalition.

William Hague needs a good week. After having relatively little to do in the first 7 months as Foreign Secretary, Hague is struggling to impress in the role. Criticisms for the way in which the UK has responded to problems in the Middle East have come from all directions. More worrying for Hague is the way in which he was hung-out-to-dry by No.10 over the bungled SAS mission into Libya.

Hague has Questions in the Chamber tomorrow from 1430 and then appears at the Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Douglas Alexander is new to the Shadow role, but this is a big chance for him to really put the boot in on Hague.

It’s actually a fairly quiet week in the Commons, but in the Lords the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill has it’s first day of committee.  Another constitutional change being attempted by the Government and a long-standing committee of the Lib Dems. The Bill has a provision to implement five-year parliaments, which is a year longer than most Lib Dems would prefer.

Categories: Parliament, William Hague Tags: