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The National Health Service

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:08 pm on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment) 6:08 pm, 23rd October 2019

It is a pleasure to follow Gerald Jones. I assure him that I, too, will be referring to the ongoing injustice to the 1950s-born women. However, as this is themed as an NHS debate, I want to pay particular tribute to all the healthcare staff at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Southern General Hospital in my constituency. Indeed, I want also to thank the healthcare staff at St Thomas’ Hospital, just over the bridge, because I know they provide healthcare support to Members from across this House.

What a fascinating debate this has been so far. I was particularly interested in the view we received from Conservative Members that austerity is over—I have been getting told that austerity is over at every Queen’s Speech and every Finance Bill since I got here in 2015—but the best moment was when the Secretary of State decided he was shocked and dismayed that Opposition Members would not trust the Government not to privatise the NHS or to make it part of an international trade deal. Why would we suggest that? Would it be, perhaps, because there are senior members of the Government whose political inclinations are not too dissimilar to President Trump’s? [Hon. Members: “Oh!”] Well, it is a fact—or would it be because some of them give away by their personalities that, to use that Glaswegian expression, they would sell their grannies for a tanner, as the Democratic Unionist party has no doubt found in the past week?