MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale David Morris has been challenged to “put up or shut up” by a constituency rival.
Amina Lone, the Labour Party candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale, has challenged Mr Morris to support an NHS Bill coming before parliament today, Friday November 21, which “calls on the government to stop privatisation of the NHS”.
But neither David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, or Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, will be in Parliament to vote on the Bill, and today David Morris accused Labour of “scaremongering” adding that the vote would set the NHS backwards.
Traditionally, many MPs work in their constituencies on a Friday.
The Bill has been proposed by Labour’s Clive Efford MP, and calls on the government “to reverse changes since 2010 and to restore the legal duty of the Secretary of State for Health to provide National Health Services.”
Miss Lone said: “In August our MP claimed he was against privatisation of the NHS.
“If that is true, he has a chance on Friday to prove it.
“David Morris, I challenge you to put up or shut up – if you are honest about being against NHS privatisation, you have to vote in favour of this NHS Bill.
Eric Ollerenshaw said that the Bill was being put to the House when three quarters of MPs would not be present.
He said that if Mr Efford thought the issue was so critical, he wouldn’t have brought it to the House on a Friday.
David Morris said: “I will not be in Parliament today to attend the debate of the Labour MP’s Private Members bill, due to commitments in the constituency.
“In any case, I would not have voted for the bill as I believe that it would set the NHS backwards.
“I am against privatisation of the NHS as I believe that care should be free to all at the point of use based on need.
“The Government are committed to this founding principle.
“This Government has made positive changes in the NHS after the mess the last Government left.
“I was personally asked to work on the Care Bill due to things that had happened in the care services in our area, and if the Labour candidate did her homework she would know this.
“As a result of the Care Bill, Foundation Trusts can now be put into administration if they are failing patients, as before they were autonomous.
“As a direct result of what happened at Hillcroft owners of care homes who fail their patients can now be prosecuted.
“The Labour candidate needs to stop playing party politics with the NHS.
“She has stated that the RLI is going to close without any basis or fact to her claims.
“All she is doing is scaring my constituents and being disrespectful to the hospital staff who work so hard to care for patients.”
Mr Ollerenshaw said: “The real issue here are if someone is ill, can they go, without worrying about the cost of it, to get the treatment they need.
“Every party still adheres to that fundamental issue.”
The Labour Party said its Bill will focus on two main areas – Section 75 rules and competition framework.
Labour said that Section 75 rules are rules that many doctors say are forcing them to put services out to the market, even if they do not want to, for fear of legal challenge.
Labour says it opposes the regulations because they risk fragmenting care and are seeing large amounts of money spent on tendering exercises rather than patient care.
Labour said the Health & Social Care Act exposed the NHS to the full force of EU competition law, and that it also established Monitor as an economic regulator to enforce competition in the NHS, along with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Labour said it opposes this framework because it is hindering important service improvements, and is seeing further large amounts of money wasted on competition administration and competition lawyers.
The Efford Bill would scrap the competition framework, remove the role of Monitor as an economic regulator enforcing competition in the NHS, and remove the Competition and Markets Authority from any role in the NHS.