LibDem NHS Activists heartened by extent of health rebellion

Lib Dem NHS activists take heart from extent of Parliamentary rebellion as new analysis shows “two-thirds of MPs” withhold support from Government on health bill.

Liberal Democrat activists and Parliamentarians seeking to amend the Health Bill today released an analysis of the Report Stage votes , based on House of Commons Library figures , showing that more than  two thirds of the eligible  English Lib Dem Backbench  MPs failed to support the government on key votes, the  vast  majority of whom voted against the government at some point.

The figures showed that,  of the  24 Liberal Democrat English backbenchers who are neither on the Government payroll, no Ministerial aides, abroad or disqualified from voting (as chair of the Bill Committee), 16  failed to support the Government in at least one of the three main votes on the Bill at report stage (on amendments to retain the private patient cap, to retain the Secretary of State’s duty to secure provision of health services, and on the 3rd reading of the Bill).

The majority of those, 11, voted against the Government on at least one of the divisions.

Commenting on this, Andrew George MP (who tabled the amendments) said,

“There is an underlying unease about the Bill amongst my colleagues. Although I knew I was not alone I hadn’t anticipated a rebellion on this scale.  Liberal Democrats  were the architects of the NHS  and do not want, by default, to become the architects of its demise.”   

Those of us who voted to ask the Government to reflect on the folly of carrying on with the Bill in its present form will be vindicated with further concessions in the Lords.”

Dr.Evan Harris, a former party health spokesman and a Vice-Chair of the party’s Federal Policy Committee, said, “The extent of unhappiness on the Lib Dem backbenches, is a real encouragement to Baroness  Shirley Williams and her cross-party colleagues in the Lords as they seek to make major changes to the Bill.”  

The vast majority of activists at our conference have only ever wanted the government’s health policies and the Bill to go no further than the Coalition Agreement. The amendments tabled yesterday and our party conference motions are only seeking to restrict the government to the Coalition Agreement that the party voted for. ”

Dr. Graham Winyard, Chair of Winchester LD and a former NHS Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England said, “Full credit needs to be given to Nick Clegg and Paul Burstow for securing the changes already made to the Bill following the Party’s spring conference.   

“However it is clear that further change is necessary before many Liberal Democrats can support it. We were encouraged by the clear hints given by Paul Burstow that the government would seek to make changes to the Bill.



1. The 10 Lib Dem MPs who voted against the Government, in favour of Amendment 1176 (Division 340) were  Annette Brooke, Tim Farron, Andrew George, Martin Horwood, Julian Huppert, Stephen Lloyd, John Pugh, Dan Rogerson, Adrian Sanders and David Ward.

Those who abstained were  Stephen Gilbert, Simon Hughes,  John Leech and Greg Mulholland

2. The 4 Lib Dem MPs who voted against the Government for the Third Reading of the Bill (Division 342) were: Andrew George, Julian Huppert, Greg Mulholland and Adrian Sanders.

Those who abstained were  Annette Brooke,Tim Farron, Martin Horwood, Stephen Gilbert, John Pugh  and Dan Rogerson

3. The 3 Lib Dem MPs who voted against the Government on Amendment 1165 on Private Health Care (Division 338) are Andrew George, Martin Horwood and Adrian Sanders.

Those who abstained were Annette Brooke,  Tim Farron, Simon Hughes, Julian Huppert, John Leech, Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Dan Rogerson,  Ian Swales,  Stephen Williams


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11 comments on “LibDem NHS Activists heartened by extent of health rebellion
  1. Hi this is me says:

    So, of the 24 totally unbiased-by-the-trappings-of-power back-benchers, 16 voted in favour of the proposals less than 3 times out of 3? (But 8 voted for it all 3 times).

    Out of curiosity, how many did vote for it? That information seems to be missing here, simple oversight I’m sure.

  2. Rob says:

    LibDem NHS Activists were “heartened” by the extent of the rebellion? Without the support of your party, the Bill would not have gone through.

    Shame on your party, and shame on the activists who are heartened by such a poor attempt at “rebellion”, after you have sold your soul.

    Further and University Education for the poor, now the National Health Service, what’s next for the Nasty Party and their yellow lickspittle lapdogs to kill off?

    Enjoy your moment in the sun, because the country will never forget your party’s role in this.

  3. Chris Campbell says:

    This is ludicrous. This is NOT something to be proud of. Like the comments so far, and I hope those to come, have pointed out, it’s very simple – If. It. Wasn’t. For. The. Lib dems. This. Wouldn’t. Have. Gone. Through. At. All.
    Sickening spin. Worse than bloody Blaire.

  4. Jill says:

    What a disingenuous piece of spin. What contempt for the intelligence readers of this blog. Obviously a majority voted with the tories or were too spineless to commit themselves either way so why not say so? What a betrayal of everything I thought I was voting for. You are beneath contempt.

  5. Mark says:

    If I’m reading this right only a third of Lib Dem MPs were completely opposed to this ‘reform’.
    I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve voted Lib Dem all my life and will never more.

  6. Anna says:

    I wouldn’t call this heartening. I’d call it a national disgrace and a desperately sad day for this country. This abomination of a bill got through because Lib Dems voted for it. They voted for selling their soul for the illusion of influence.

    They’ve been hopelessly outplayed, and at the one point where they could have truly done something in the national interest they betrayed the people who voted for them and they betrayed the people of this country.

    Democracy? We don’t have one any more. The Lib Dems have proven themselves to be just as craven and immoral as everyone else. Democracy is dead. Universal access to education is dead, the NHS has been declared terminal, and the Lib Dems have presided over the vilification of the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable.

    Hardly heartening. More like heart-breaking.

  7. John says:

    This piece of sophistry only reinforces my perspective of Lib Dems as either Orange Book Tories or spineless lackeys terrified of standing up for anything you professed to believe in. If you are the first, you should be honest and join the Conservative Party, if the second you should resign.

    Whichever, you will be remembered for privatising the NHS; selling off our great national asset with no mandate to do so.

  8. Lisa Smeaton says:

    ‘Heartening’? I’ve never heard anything so disingenous. This Bill was only passed because of LD support – hang your heads in shame. I have voted LD nationally and locally but never will again. This was not what I voted for. You have betrayed my vote. You were the nail in the coffin of the NHS and I think (and hope) this bill will be the nail in your coffin.

  9. Andrew says:

    Intrigued by the abstaining Lib Dems. Sitting on the fence with your ear to the ground is an uncomfortable positi1on

  10. Betty duxbury says:

    I would like Conference to debate the NHS as further changes are clearly necessary if it is to be saved from the dangers of privatisation, and in support of Shirley Williams and the debate in the House of Lords.

  11. Jenny says:

    If we as the Liberal Democrates fail our Nation by not making the ammendments to ensure our National Health Service is fit for the future we will desreve all the condemnation that will come our way. I fully support Shirley Williams in her efforts and I expect conference to support her. We should have been voting against this bill from the outset. Where have our principles gone?

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