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Green leader Caroline Lucas says Labour in no position to criticise government NHS privatisation

Caroline Lucas MP and Green Party candidate Alexis Rowell

Published: 08 September 2011

THE leader of the Green Party has told Labour they are in no position to criticise the Coalition government for privat­ising the NHS.
Caroline Lucas, the first Green MP, who represents Brighton Pavilion, told the New Journal yesterday (Wednesday) that the Labour Party was responsible for laying the “building blocks for a ­privatised, corporate economy” in the NHS.
Her comments came the day after former Labour health secretary Frank Dobson MP chaired a Keep Our NHS Public meeting, labelling the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition a “disgrace” for pressing ahead with its privatisation plan.
Health Secretary  Andrew Lansley’s reform Bill, currently going through Parliament, will allow for large sections of the NHS to be sold off to profit-making private companies.
Ms Lucas said: “I listened to Labour [at Tuesday’s health debate in the Commons] talking about their fears of privatisation of the NHS.

Excuse me? Who embedded the market in the NHS back in 2003 with foundation hospitals? Labour.”

Mr Dobson told the Commons on Tuesday that Mr Lansley was taking a privatisation agenda to new limits, adding that concessions made during a “pause”, called following an outcry over the reforms from medical professionals, were insignificant. He said the Bill would not put more power into the hands of family GPs as claimed by the Conservatives.
He later told the New Journal he believed the Bill could be pole-axed when it reaches the House of Lords later this month because Lib Dems there were “less whippable” and that “even Norman Tebbitt has been criticising it”.
Labour peer Lord Rea, a former Kentish Town GP, has said he is pre­paring to table a series of amendments that he believes will “wreck” the Bill.
Health workers from Camden joined a massive protest outside the Commons against the controversial Bill during its third reading in the House of Commons last night.
Ms Lucas was speaking to the New Journal as she joined activists in Highgate canvassing votes ahead of the forthcoming by-election on Thursday September 15.
The Green Party is hoping to strike a blow against Labour in the backyard of leader Ed Miliband, who lives in the Highgate ward, but did not join the campaign trail. 
Alexis Rowell, a former member of the Labour Party and former Lib Dem councillor in Camden, is standing for the Greens.
Labour hopeful Sally Gimson is aiming to win back the seat vacated by Labour councillor Michael Nicolaides who stepped down after 18 months in August.
She met with MP David Lammy yesterday to discuss the government’s response to the riots and outline concerns she said were voiced in the south of Highgate ward about cuts to Camden police.
Ms Gimson said: “Lots of people think Highgate is leafy but, particularly on the south side, people are saying they are worried about cuts to police numbers.”
Three London Conservative MEPs joined Tony Denyer’s campaign for the Conservatives. 
The Lib Dems are fielding Martin Hay as their party’s candidate.


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