Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.


25 OCT 2019

Labour's Amendment NHS

Thank you for your email questioning why I abstained on the Labour's amendment to the Queen's Speech on the NHS. I hope the following will clarify why I and my colleagues could not support Mr Corbyn.

Our NHS matters hugely to everyone, and at time when our health service is under unprecedented strain, it is important that political parties act with great care. I am aware that the Labour Party are putting out highly misleading claims about the vote on the amendment so thank you for writing as I am glad to have the opportunity to set out the facts.

The majority of those who work in and alongside the NHS do not want another disruptive and unwanted NHS reorganisation. I know this because over the past couple of years the cross party select committee I chair in Parliament, has been taking evidence on what changes are needed to the current legislation. Both the Health and Social Care Select Committee and the NHS have been hearing from patient groups, representatives from all parts of the workforce including unions, as well as from those who work alongside the NHS including the voluntary sector, Royal Colleges, academic experts and campaigners.

Liberal Democrats believe it would be better to support the legislative changes the NHS has now told Parliament that it needs, following an extensive consultation. The following is a link to the summary as well as the detail of the NHS's recommendations https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/BM1917-NHS-recommendations-Government-Parliament-for-an-NHS-Bill.pdf

These proposals have widespread support from the NHS workforce and include: ·

  • An NHS Bill to free up different parts of the NHS to work together more easily without another wholesale administrative reorganisation.
  • The scrapping of section 75 which would end the enforcement of competition law and allow the service to end wasteful competitive tendering.

The Liberal Democrats will continue to listen to what the NHS and those who depend on services want to see. We have also led in Parliament on defending the NHS from the prospect of US pressure for example on drug pricing and deregulation during trade deals after Brexit.

If Labour really cared about the NHS, they would come off the fence and support the Liberal Democrat's unequivocal campaign to Stop Brexit. All versions of Brexit are a threat to the NHS, social care, research and public health as well as the people who depend on services.

Labour's plans are ideologically driven and would involve a major disruptive reorganisation involving huge extra cost that would be better invested in patient care. This is why we did not support Mr Corbyn's amendment to the Queens Speech but will instead be listening to the NHS.

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