By Tim Hardy
As the coalition continues to refuse to release the NHS risk register, Caroline Lucas has accused the government of staggering arrogance:
The Department of Health’s apparent belief that it can rightfully ignore public opinion, the concerns of health professionals and now the Information Commissioner is symptomatic of the kind of staggering arrogance we have come to expect from this Government – not to mention a complete disregard for the democratic process.
David Cameron must now intervene to accept the legal ruling and lay the results of the Government’s risk register bare for all – the public, MPs and the Lords – to see.
Lord Owen warns:
To go ahead with legislation, while appealing to the High Court, would be the third constitutional outrage associated with this legislation. The first was to legislate within months of the prime minister promising in the general election that there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS. The second was to implement large parts of the legislation without Parliamentary authority.
The attempt to railroad this legislation through both Houses of Parliament has raised very serious questions about the legitimacy of this coalition government.
The government have lost their appeal and been ordered to publish the report immediately. Their excuses for not doing so have been rejected as nonsense. The only reason why they don’t want the public, MPs and Lords to see the report is that it reveals with damning clarity what health professionals already know: this Health and Social Care Bill will irrevocably damage health care in the UK.
Liberal Democrats at the Gateshead conference have been offered the chance of 30 minutes to debate only one of four possible motions – to drop the health bill, Shirley Williams’ appeasement bill, one on Syria and one on secret courts. Let’s hope they chose wisely and that their MPs afterwards don’t exercise an assumed unilateral right “to exercise our judgement” but instead respect their constitution and the wishes of their members.
(Image via @KP_LD.)