I contacted my constituency MP, Mark Lazarowicz to ask him to participate in the NHS Bill debate and vote today and to vote in favour of the bill, as detailed here.
I received a very prompt reply from Mr Lazarowicz, which was as follows:
Thank you for writing to me regarding the NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill which will be debated in the House of Commons on 21 November. I will be there to support and vote for the Bill.
Along with my Labour colleagues, I am a strong defender of our NHS and this Bill if passed will provide important protections against its privatisation. This aspect of the Bill will not apply directly to Scotland, as the Scottish Parliament and Government have full powers over the NHS in Scotland, but I certainly do not want the NHS to be privatised anywhere else in the UK either.
The Bill also provides important protections against the proposed EU-USA trade treaty (TTIP) leading to the NHS anywhere in the UK being forced to allow private health companies to bid and take over NHS activities. For that reason also I believe the Bill is important and will have my support.
More generally, I can tell you that Labour’s view is that the EU should not agree to the TTIP treaty unless it specifically excludes public health services and other vital public services.
I hope this will reassure as to my position on this issue, and I am grateful to you for taking the time to send me your views.
MP for Edinburgh North and Leith
The first point of interest is that Mr Lazarowicz will indeed be attending to support and vote for the Bill, which is good news, I hope he is in the majority of attendees.
The second paragraph is interesting and I am certainly aware that many within Labour do indeed support the NHS, but it is also worth pointing out that some of the words read hollow when it was New Labour who started the NHS privatisation ball rolling.
Mr Lazarowicz also mentions that the aspect of the bill relating to protections against its privatisation will not apply directly to Scotland and this is indeed true. However, it would have indirect implications on Scotland as *currently* the Scottish Government’s block grant (Barnett consequentials) from Westminister is calculated using the Barnett Formula which is directly linked to spending on public services in England, so the more the NHS is privatised, the less the Barnett consequentials become as a direct consequence.
I am warmed by Mr Lazarowicz’s third paragraph and it reflects the viewpoint that I was hoping for and though I hesitate to unconditionally accept that the position described in paragraph four is an accurate reflection of his party, if this is indeed the case then I am glad to see they have managed to dig up a shred of integrity from somewhere.
I am reassured Mark and I thank you for your response!