The main criticism of the Government's proposal has been on what the details may prove to be when the regulations are in due course put before the House. I think it would be proper if we withheld our criticisms, which can only be of a hypothetical nature, until we see the regulations. But there is still quite a lot to be said about the general principle involved in this proposed new Clause. For my part, I fully accept the Minister's statement that this Clause was not introduced solely as one of the so-called cuts. Indeed, I think it is true to say that we on this side of the House, long before the cuts, had drawn the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that there were abuses going on, and had suggested to the best of our ability that it was time he looked into them with a view to taking some kind of action both in this connection and in certain other connections, which it would now be out of Order to mention, related to the Health Service.
I think it is relevant here to refer to the precise passage of the Prime Minister's statement made in the House on 24th October last, in which this particular proposal was first announced.