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Liberal Democrats vent opposition to health reforms in England but fail to “kill the bill”

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2012 (Published 13 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2012
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Liberal Democrats at their spring conference in Gateshead on Sunday 11 March voted themselves into an ambiguous position over the Health and Social Care Bill after plans to vote on a motion to “kill the bill” were ambushed by an alternative debate in which activists voted to remove their support for peers to back the legislation.

The original motion, put forward by Charles West, an NHS doctor, and the former MP Evan Harris called on the Liberal Democrats to demand that the government withdraw the bill. However, Shirley Williams, who has worked to secure hundreds of amendments during the bill’s passage through the House of Lords, tabled a rival motion calling on peers to back the bill if more changes were made to the legislation.

By virtue of the alternative voting system, in which delegates ranked the …

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