The House of Lords recently passed David Cameron’s laws aimed at privatising even more of the NHS. This vote for the controversial laws has increased calls for reforming the House of Lords. Calls further heightened after the resignation of Deputy Speaker John Sewel due to a drugs and hookers scandal.
The second chamber is full of non-elected members, who can delay laws, or pass them.
An investigation by The Daily Mirror has found that a third of Tory peers who voted for the NHS privatisation laws have links to private sector medical companies that could benefit from such privatisation.
A third of Tory Lords equates to 75 peers that the union UNITE has confirmed have strong links to private sector health companies. Therefore it was in their best to pass those laws. None of those peers actually broke any rules as their interests had previously being declared.
However, peers being unelected means that they can vote any way they want to relation to laws, they have no constituents to answer to. UNITE are unhappy that these Tory peers can shape the future of the NHS and make large profits in the process.
UNITE general secretary Len McCluskey said:
“This betrayal and privatisation of our NHS is a scandal for our democracy.
“Scores of Tory Parliamentarians who voted for the NHS sell-off had links to the private health-care firms that stood to profit. This again exposes the Government’s real plan for the NHS – total sell-off.”
Among the peers UNITE named and shamed were former cabinet ministers Lord Baker, Lord Carrington, and Baroness Bottomley. Other prominent peers were Lord Fink and Lord Blackwell, all either own shares in companies, work for companies, or get paid to lobby for companies that will gain from NHS privatisation, like BUPA and Interserve.
A Conservative Party spokesman said:
“All interests are declared to the Register of Lords’ Interests. Any peers who speak on a subject make their relevant interests known. Any suggestion of impropriety is malicious and defamatory and will be treated as such.”