We have been amazed by the grassroots support for the NHS Bill. Over 60,000 of us have now signed the petition. That included 20,000 people on the day of the NHS Bill debate. And hundreds of doctors, nurses, NHS staff, campaigners and celebrities wrote a letter of support.
On Friday the NHS Bill went to Parliament. Before the debate we held a lively handover ceremony for the petition outside the Department of Health, with Caroline Lucas MP, alongside NHS campaigners and junior doctors.
Action then moved to a rally outside the House of Commons. Labour MPs Rachael Maskell and Grahame Morris came to show their support, and speakers from Unite, Doctors for the NHS, Keep our NHS Public and many local NHS campaign groups and junior doctors addressed the spirited crowd.
Inside the House of Commons the opportunity for the Bill getting sensible debating time rapidly disappeared, as Conservative MPs filibustered. Finally they finished and the NHS Bill had a chance. But the previous Bill received 4.5hrs, which left the NHS Bill with precisely 17 minutes. As Peter Roderick, lawyer and co-author of the NHS Bill said in the viewing gallery “17 lousy minutes. A contemptuous Parliament unworthy of the people.”
The shambles in the House of Commons and the inability of Heidi Alexander (Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary) and the Labour Party as a whole to support the NHS Bill was in stark contrast to the groundswell of grassroots support.
The campaign is growing. The campaign continues.
- The NHS Bill petition is still open. We will use it as a way to show MPs the support of people for the NHS Bill. Please do keep encouraging people to sign.
- We are looking at ways to reintroduce the NHS Bill in the next session of Parliament (starting in mid-May). We need to keep the cross-party support for the NHS Bill, but we need to build more support from the Labour Party to put their weight behind it.
- We will keep in touch, to let you know what happens next with the NHS Bill.
But for the moment, thank you again you the fantastic support. The NHS in England must be restored as proper public service. MPs need to back a change in the law to do so.
Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill
PS. For those of us concerned about the filibustering in Parliament on Friday, here are 2 immediate things that we can do: