13 Jun 2011

Lib Dems ‘have their moment’ on NHS

Nick Clegg has told his MPs and peers tonight that his “demands” on the NHS bill have been “very very handsomely met.” He was greeted by warm applause and even the leader of the Spring Conference rebellion on the NHS reforms that routed the leadership is that the changes do address the worries – although he still thinks that the competition section of the Bill needs more changes. 

Earlier, David Cameron told a meeting of Tory MPs that the Tories hadn’t taken a hit over the NHS pause. He said the “fundamental principles” of the Bill were intact.

Behind the scenes, his team is going further telling disgruntled Tory MPs to let the Lib Dems “have their moment” or mini-celebration and not worry as the Tories’ “red lines” have not been crossed. 

On a wider point, MPs at the new intake Tory meeting said it was interesting “rite of passage” or “coming of age” for the newbies.

There were 24 questions to the PM ranging across a whole raft of subjects – crime, banks, tuition fees and much more – and only one of them could be described as patsy. They were “challenging not hostile,” one MP told me, but definitely not a cheerleaders’ convention.

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