After sixteen hours of debate on the Second Reading of the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill, the House of Lords voted on two motions. The Government won both divisions.
The first would have killed the Bill outright by declining to give it a Second Reading – a very rare procedural vote in the House of Lords. The Government won by 354 to 220.
The second vote was on a motion to refer three parts of the Bill to detailed scrutiny by a Special Select Committee of the House was defeated by 330 to 262. The total vote reflected the largest turnout of Peers since 1993 (on the Maastricht Treaty – itself the largest vote recorded in the House of Lords since 1831) and it exceeded some of the big votes on Parliamentary Voting and Constituencies Bill.
The vote also saw 198 Labour Peers voting for the Select Committee referral. This is the largest vote by Labour Peers ever in the history of the House of Lords.
So where were the LibDems in all of this?
By and large they were with the Tories in pushing the Bill through. Just two of them (Baronesses Nicholson of Winterbourne and Tonge) rebelled, while 80 (yes, eighty) LibDem Peers trooped through the lobby with 193 Conservatives. The cross-benchers and others split 56 for the referral motion to 57 against. The Archbishop of York and five other Bishops also voted for the referral motion.
So the lesson? You cannot trust the LibDems with the NHS>