19 March 2012

Southwark Labour Leader's last-ditch effort to persuade Simon Hughes to drop support for NHS changes

Southwark Labour Leader, Peter John has written again to Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes demanding that he oppose the discredited Health and Social Care Bill.  The text of his letter, written today, is below.

Dear Simon,

I am writing regarding the letter I sent to you on the 13th February concerning your support for the Government's Health and Social Care Bill, to which I am yet to receive a reply. I note that following my letter you changed your position on the publication of the risk register which outlines the potential damage this Bill will have and which an information rights tribunal has ruled should be published.

Unfortunately, despite your apparent support for its publication, today in the House of Commons you failed to support a motion for the risk register to be debated. I do not understand why you would not want a debate to be held on something you have said yourself should be made public. All I know is that, despite you sitting on your hands, the publication of the risk register will be debated tomorrow.

I sincerely hope that you attend that debate and make clear why you have just abstained on another vote and why you are supporting this Bill. On too many issues since May 2010 you have given the impression of opposition when in reality you are one of the most loyal Liberal Democrat MPs in this government. I and my colleagues will do everything we can to ensure people in your constituency know that you are supporting this particularly disastrous piece of legislation.

I am sure that you too believe that this Bill is bad for the NHS. It is now time for you to find the courage to say that to your colleagues Nick Clegg and David Cameron. Patients, health professionals, the public, Labour and Liberal Democrat party members who are worried about their NHS, are coming together to protect our country's best-loved institution. By working together Labour and the Liberal Democrats can stop this Bill. Your opposition could be absolutely crucial.

For the sake not only of Southwark patients and NHS staff, but the future of the NHS nationally please confirm whether you will be supporting this Bill or not. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cllr Peter John
Leader of Southwark Council

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