Labour MP submits Queen's Speech amendment on NHS privatisation

John Mann respectfully regrets that "a bill to call a referendum on reversing NHS privatisation was not included in the Gracious Speech".

Inspired by the Tory EU rebels, the pugnacious Labour MP John Mann has submitted his own amendment to the Queen's Speech. The amendment is identical in wording to the Tories' but substitutes the words "EU referendum" for "a referendum on reversing NHS privatisation" (you can see both below). 

A rather lengthier amendment has been submitted by Green MP Caroline Lucas, requesting that the government "recognise that its programme fails to address either the worsening climate crisis or that austerity is failing; call on your Government to heed warnings that urgent and radical cuts in emissions are needed to prevent global temperature rises of 4℃ or more by the end of the century; urge your Government to recognise that, to fulfil its own commitment to keep warming below 2 degrees, around 80 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground; further call on your Government to end austerity and instead reduce the deficit through an economic programme that prioritises investment in jobs, especially in labour-intensive green sectors and that pursues a goal of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, with policies for rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies; and further call on your Government to lift the council borrowing cap to promote council house building, to tackle the cost of public transport starting with bringing the railways back into public ownership, to end cuts to welfare and take other steps to build a resilient and stable economy."

If the EU referendum amendment, which has been signed by 53 MPs, is selected for debate by the Speaker, a vote will be held on Wednesday evening. 

Demonstrators protest against the government's Health and Social Care Bill in central London, on January 31, 2011. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.