107,000 sign 'stop health bill' bid
More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Government to abandon the Health and Social Care Bill.
In the latest sign of public opposition to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley's beleaguered NHS reforms, the e-petition has been attracting signatures at a rate of more than 1,000 an hour.
The petition, tabled by GP Kailash Chand, has received the support of 107,000 people and counting. It will now be considered for debate in the Commons by the Backbench Business Committee.
Despite anger from health professionals and patient groups - and private criticism of the bill by Tory Cabinet ministers - Prime Minister David Cameron is pressing ahead with the legislation.
But shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the petition's signatories had "sent a very clear message" that the Government should scrap the bill.
"They want him to listen and stop putting his political pride before the best interests of the NHS," he said.
"Mr Cameron wants to legislate to turn our NHS into a free market. He is being reminded in no uncertain terms that he does not have the public's permission to do this. Nobody voted for this reorganisation and Mr Cameron promised it would not happen."
He urged people to keep signing the petition, adding: "The 'Drop the Bill' call is turning into a deafening cry supported by patients, professions and even members of Mr Cameron's Cabinet. It is a fight we can and must win."
Downing Street has dismissed suggestions that Mr Lansley should be sacked and insisted ministers were "fully behind" his NHS reforms.
Mr Cameron is to launch a new offensive to sell the bill to the public. He said at the weekend he was "at one" with Mr Lansley and the legislation amid signs of deep unease with the bill among Tory Cabinet ministers and even Number 10 insiders.