Another day, another bid to de-rail the Government's NHS reforms. But this one is gathering some significance, and could see Lib-Dems joining forces with Labour to vote against the Health and Social Care Bill.
Five Lib-Dem backbenchers have tabled an amendment to a Labour backbench opposition day motion, which "declines to support the Bill in its current form".
Labour sources understand that in a rare move, it will be selected for debate by Speaker John Bercow and that Ed Miliband's troops are happy to back it.
The full amendment calls for an "urgent summit" between ministers and Royal Colleges, professional and patient groups to plan health reforms "based on the Coalition agreement" - which pledges to stop top-down reorganisations.
One of the rebels, Bradford East MP David Ward, said the move was needed because a string of concessions secured by Lib-Dem peers in the Lords had failed to quell opposition because they had been accepted by the Tories.
“The situation we find ourselves in - and I’m not sure there is an awful lot we can do about it - is we are in coalition with a party that people will never, ever trust on the NHS and that is a huge problem,” he told the Standard.
“The view from the public is that if the colleges are against it then there must be something wrong.”
John Pugh, chair of the Lib-Dem backbench health committee, said the move and a letter from Royal College of GPs chair Clare Gerada offered a chance for a U-turn.
“Overshadowing this is the Prime Minister’s desire not to look weak and you can read the Gerada letter as an attempt to give the PM room to manoeuvre,” he said.
“There are few enthusiasts for this legislation and thought needs to be given to showing the Government a way out of what must be an agonising dilemma.”
One senior Lib-Dem source dismissed this as posturing by the "awkward squad", while another hailed more than 1,000 amendments secured by the party's peers on the Bill.
For their part, Downing Street rejected talk of a U-turn. “We are fully committed to the Health and Social Care Bill which is about improving the NHS while protecting its founding principles,” a spokesman said.
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