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NHS Bill: Craig Whittaker won't attend the debate or vote for the Bill

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

There is growing support among political groups in our area for a Parliamentary Bill which aims to fully restore the NHS as a publicly owned service and to reverse 25 years of privatisation in the NHS.

This Friday, 11th March, Caroline Lucas MP will take the NHS Reinstatement Bill back to the House of Commons for its second reading.

The private members bill has received cross-party support and has among its signatories Jeremy Corbyn, who signed up before becoming Labour Party leader.

In Calderdale, several organisations have announced their support for the NHS Bill. These include:

Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign Group,
Calderdale Green Party
Calderdale National Union of Journalists
Calderdale People's Assembly against Austerity
Calderdale Trades Council
Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS
Calder Valley Constituency Labour Party
Halifax Constituency Labour Party

Many of these organisations, together with members of the public, are expected to join the Junior Doctors' picket outside the main entrance of Calderdale Royal Hospital on Wednesday 9th March, between 9am and 12.30pm, to show support for the Junior Doctors' strike for a fair, safe, negotiated contract, and to publicly urge Calderdale MPs to vote for the NHS Bill on 11 March.

The Bill would reinstate the secretary of state's responsibility for the health of UK citizens, something the Health and Social Care Act removed. It would fully restore the NHS as a publicly owned, run and funded service by reversing 25 years of marketization in the NHS.

Many MPs return to their constituencies on Thursday nights but nationally, thousands of people have signed a petition urging their representatives to vote in favour on the NHS Reinstatement Bill next Friday.

The Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has told constituents he will not attend the debate or vote for the Bill.

Asked on Saturday 5th March by Calderdale Save our A&Es and NHS Bill campaigners if she would attend the debate and vote for the Bill, Halifax MP Holly Lynch said her diary was full of constituency meetings on Friday 11 March, but she could change her mind if a lot of her constituents asked her to attend the debate and vote for the Bill.

Caroline Lucas MP has said, "I hope that MPs stick around next Friday to have a say on the future of our health service.

"This mobilisation of grass roots campaigners and NHS staff is hugely inspiring. Across the country we're seeing people making a stand against the ongoing marketization of our health service. The NHS is saddled with a wasteful internal market, and increasingly widespread outsourcing of services. When you add this privatisation to the near-constant Government attacks on the NHS workforce you can see why so many people are supporting the NHS Bill.

"The NHS bill would put the public back at the heart of the health service. MPs now have a chance to put their commitment to a public NHS into action by backing this bill on 11 March.

"If we work together we can save our crisis ridden health service for future generations."