Rightwinger Chris Chope has put forward legislation that would undermine the principle of an NHS free at the point of use.
The Tory MP for Christchurch has tabled a private member’s bill set to be the third to be debated today calling for “co-payment” for NHS treatment.
His National Health Service (Co-Funding and Co-Payment) Bill (HC Bill 37) is unlikely to be passed without his Government’s support, but it opens up for debate extending charges from prescriptions, dentistry and opticians to GP visits and even hospital procedures.
It is the second reading of Sir Christopher Chope’s bill to amend the 2006 Health Service Bill.
Last summer Chris Chope was accused of “abusing the system” by sleeping in Westminster for three nights with fellow Tory MP Peter Bone to put in 73 private member’s bills between the pair of them.
Many fellow MPs were outraged as this was seen as an attempt to block other MPs proposing legislation on Fridays which are reserved for individual MPs to bring legislation to the commons.
Labour’s Paul Flynn, who has been attempting to have his own bill to legalise the medicinal use of cannabis debated properly for years, despite attempts to talk it out of time on Fridays, accused Chris Chope and Peter Bone of “abusing the system by putting down 70 bills where there are only a certain number of slots.” The Labour MP for Newport in Wales said: “It’s destructive. It’s not helping the Commons to do its job. I think it’s made them the least popular of all MPs.”
Chris Chope has little respect for other MPs’ private members bills, waffling on with other notoriously filibustering Conservative MPs to make sure they run out of time for a vote. The incredibly irritating practice has often been criticised as being undemocratic.
In 2015 for instance, Chope helped fellow Tories Philip Davies and Davide Nuttall, who between the three of them chatted for two hours and 53 minutes to derail Labour MP Julie Cooper’s perfectly sensible private member’s bill to give carers free hospital parking.
The much respected health select committee found that the Tory reorganizing of the NHS as a marketplace cost the NHS 14% of all its budget. And with private firms encouraged to cherry pick £billions in contracts for the more lucrative functions of the NHS, today’s vote will be seen as another attempt by rightwingers in the Conservative party to undermine the NHS.