Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said in advance of this afternoon’s Commons debate on the Health Bill and Liberal Democrat support for it:
"Time is running out for the NHS. This damaging bill could be through Parliament in a week’s time. It is in crisis after the decision at the Lib Dem conference not to support it and the legal ruling on the publication of the NHS risk register. Labour is clear that we can still stop it.
“I welcome the support of Lib Dem MPs in today’s debate and I applaud the Lib Dem members who stood up for the NHS at their weekend conference. We have a new opportunity to develop an agreement between Labour and the Liberal Democrats on the NHS Bill. Patients who depend on the NHS and staff who have devoted their lives to it want to see political parties find common ground. Our country’s best-loved institution is far more important than party politics.
"I am appealing to MPs from all parties to stand back, recognise the concerns raised by the public, patients and NHS staff and take this final opportunity in the House of Commons to reject this Bill. The Government must hear the voices of 170,000 people who have signed the Downing Street petition to express their worries about the damage being done to the NHS."