What happened on March 11th? Peter Roderick answers

Peter Roderick11th March 2015 was a milestone for the campaign.
But what happened and why was it important?
We put some questions to the co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, barrister Peter Roderick.


What happened today?
12 MPs from 5 political parties tabled the National Health Service Bill in the House Commons, based on the second version of the NHS Reinstatement Bill.

Why is that important?
It’s important because we’ve now got the Bill into Parliament with cross-party support, so it can’t be easily dismissed.

A Bill was the start of the law-making process to create the NHS, and we won’t get it back without starting that process again.


We can see you had fun standing around in the sunshine talking to MPs, but what was the point?
Yes it was fun and sunny, but the point was to let people see and know what was going on and to take heart that there are a lot of people who don’t accept the dismantling of the NHS and who are working seriously to reverse it.

What is the point in doing this at this stage in the parliamentary cycle, isn’t it all too late?
True, the Bill will fall at the end of March when Parliament closes down for the election campaign. But it’s a serious piece of proposed legislation which candidates can support during the election campaign – and as a marker for after the election against which to test government proposals.

MPs supporting the presentation of the NHS Bill

L to R: Eilidh Whiteford MP, Mike Weir MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Stewart Hosie MP, Andrew George MP, Angus MacNeil MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Peter Roderick and Chris Williamson MP (hidden). Pictured with campaigners and student nurses.

Which MPs were supporting you today?
The Bill was presented by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, and supported by 11 other MPs – the maximum number allowed – here’s the list:

Andrew George, Lib Dem, St Ives
John Pugh, Lib Dem, Southport
Katy Clark, Labour, North Ayrshire and Arran
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, Islington North
Roger Godsiff, Labour, Birmingham Sparkbrook
Kelvin Hopkins, Labour, Luton North
John McDonnell, Labour, Hayes and Harlington
Michael Meacher, Labour, Oldham West and Royton
Chris Williamson, Labour, Derby North
Eilidh Whiteford, SNP, Banff and Buchan
Hywel Williams, Plaid Cymru, Arfon

That’s just a smattering of MPs, if the mainstream Labour MPs aren’t yet backing it, what chance has the Bill got?
True, but Labour’s not monolithic, there’s an election about to happen, and mainstream today is not necessarily mainstream tomorrow – its centre of gravity won’t shift if we give a depressed shrug.

Doesn’t this Bill promote another top down re-organisation?
I am sensitive to these genuine concerns, but the 2012 Act was a dismantling, not a reorganisation. The evidence of disorganisation, fragmentation and incoherence is already mounting. We want to put the NHS back together again based on its founding principles, and we’re proposing to do it with a new locally-led, bottom-up approach with the Secretary of State’s oversight to make sure it works throughout England.

You can support the campaign by asking your MP and prospective parliamentary candidates whether they would back an NHS Reinstatement Bill to be in the next Queen’s Speech.

Take action here.