Fury in Parliament as Tory minister kills off law to give cancer patients cheap life-saving drugs

A top Tory has sparked fury by killing off a law to give cancer patients life-saving drugs for as little as 5p.

MPs revolted in the Commons today as Health Minister Alistair Burt spoke for half an hour despite howls from Tory, Labour and SNP backbenchers.

They tried three times to hold a vote but they failed and the clock reached 2.30pm, ending the debate and shelving the Bill.

The Labour MP behind the law told the Mirror it showed ‘the worst of our politics’.

In heated exchanges Mr Burt said he was right to take his time and accused MPs of ‘shroud-waving’ – exploiting a death or tragedy to hog the spotlight.

He snapped: “Oh, shroud-waving, thank you very much, that’s all we need” – prompting shouts of ‘shocking!’.

But he said sorry after Labour MP George Howarth fumed: “Would you not think in the context of this Bill that the term shroud waving was at the very least inappropriate?”

He told MPs: “I certainly did myself a disservice with a silly and offhand remark. I entirely accept that and that’s not like me, I apologise.”

It is the second week in a row that a backbench Bill has run out of time after a bid to give carers free parking was fatally stalled by a Tory’s 90-minute speech .

This week’s was the Off-Patent Drugs Bill by Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds, who claimed it would save patients’ lives and millions of pounds in NHS cash.

Source: Fury in Parliament as Tory minister kills off law to give cancer patients cheap life-saving drugs – Mirror Online

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


35 thoughts on “Fury in Parliament as Tory minister kills off law to give cancer patients cheap life-saving drugs

  1. AndyH

    Again, why the hell do we allow filibustering? This is one of the many aspects of parliamentary procedure that needs to be scrapped.

  2. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    I should like to know why this MP acted as he did. What reason did he give for out-talking the bill other than perhaps he or some Tory MPs could have vested interests in drug companies which manufacture more expensive treatments? In the interests of common decency even a Tory MP should be made to give a valid reason. MPs should get up, speak and then shut up and not be allowed to deliberately talk out the possibility of further discussions; such behaviour is disgraceful.

  3. Chris Kitcher

    This just shows how really callous the Tory b*****ds are. No one is safe in the UK anymore with creatures like this having the power to affect the law. What a shocking state of affairs for the UK to have degenerated into?

  4. noreen

    these speeches in the commons don’t just accidentally run out of time it is a known tactic for defeating opposition and should be illegal for life and death matters like this

  5. Joan Edington

    This whole filibustering ability has to be stopped. It wouldn’t take much of a rule change to make backbench bills free of this, which is basically corruption in my mind. Could it not be compulsory to say that speeches stop 5 mins before the end of a debate’s allotted time with a vote then being mandatory? Could members have a limited time in the spotlight? Could The Speaker not be able to stop such obviously devious speeches?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve done some (very limited) research and it seems that a change to standing orders would be required, to prevent filibustering.
      This Blog gets around 10,000 visitors a day. If I were to start an e-petition on the Parliament website, how many of you would be prepared to sign and publicise it?
      Or is such a petition already up, in which case we should all be supporting that?

      1. plhepworth

        Count me in. Filibustering shows contempt for democracy and its participants. Joan Edington offers several straightforward and practicable solutions.

      2. Dez

        If there are no other e-petition sites, and this example was used to promote this destructive abuse of parliaments current rules for something that seems so sensible, on several counts, I would take great pleasure in joining and promoting such a petition.

      3. Jan Holbrook

        I would definitely sign your e-petition, Mike, and would circulate it to as wide an audience as possible.

      1. Google "saveNaturefree"

        The idea is a network that gets our people into power for change. It works a bit like a ponzi scheme only it’s free. Join your local group free and if your a lucky early-bird you get paid $40 per tree for planting saplings. So many of the issues this idea hits is mad. See the Solutions page at SaveTheWorldFREE.ning.com

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think VP readers will be able to make up their minds, based on what you’ve said. Thank you.

  6. Lynn Dye

    Mike, I would definitely sign, share and tweet if you do start up a petition, or support any other petition that may already be up and running. This behaviour from MP’s is utterly disgraceful, and should be stopped.

  7. hayfords

    It is a standard practice. It was a private members bill that conflicts with government policy. The government view is that there are other pathways involving out of patent drugs. These out of patent drugs can be prescribed now and the government view is that legislation was not needed

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It took me a matter of seconds to read and understand this. Why did the Member concerned waste more than 1.5 hours doing the same?

  8. Phil Lee

    That despicable lump of excrement should be prosecuted for at least the manslaughter of every patient denied those drugs.
    He quite literally talked them to death.
    Utter scum.

  9. mrmarcpc

    Why are people still surprised about what the tories are doing, they’re tories, this is what they do best, screw the people every which way so it will lead to ur deaths, I’m not surprised by this at all, will sign the petition too!

Comments are closed.