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 at least 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.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "We know that doctors and nurses and people right across the health service are against these changes. Now we know that 100,000-plus people from across the country are saying this Bill should be dropped. We need that debate in Parliament but above all we need the Government to act.
"We need the Government to recognise that this Bill is bad for the NHS and that it will waste billions of pounds that could be spent on the front line, could be spent on protecting the jobs and others, and also that it will bring the wrong values into our NHS, setting doctor against doctor and hospital against hospital.
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.