An attempt to suspend standing orders and allow an emergency motion on the Health and Social Care Bill was approved by a majority of conference representatives but failed to get the two-thirds majority needed (235 voted to suspend standing orders against 183 who opposed it). Commenting on the vote, Chair of the Social Liberal Forum Dr David Hall-Matthews said: “Despite the steer to leave the agenda as it is, a clear majority of conference representatives voted to ensure that health was properly debated. We regret that the motion will not be debated but feel that we have made our point. “This wasn't just a debate about the future of the NHS; it was about the health of our party's democracy. We cannot allow party policy to be dictated by government. “It is clear from the mood at conference that the party still has deep concerns about the Health and Social Care Bill. In the interests of party unity, it is crucial that the leadership and members of the House of Lords listen carefully and respond positively as the legislation enters the final stages of its passage through parliament.” Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrats' Federal Policy Committee Dr Evan Harris added: “I am confident that the widespread concern about the health bill in its current form will come across when it is discussed at conference later this week.”
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