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Controversial NHS Bill clears Lords
The Government's controversial NHS reforms have cleared the House of Lords after a last-ditch Labour attempt to block the legislation failed.
Peers voted by 269 to 174, Government majority 95, against an attempt to stop the Health and Social Care Bill being passed.
Am attempt by SDP founder, now independent crossbencher, Lord Owen to delay third reading of the Health and Social Care Bill had earlier been rejected by 328 votes to 213, Government majority 115.
The votes mean that the Bill will return to the Commons, where MPs will consider a raft of amendments agreed to the legislation in the Lords.
Labour's health spokeswoman Baroness Thornton called on peers to take the exceptionally rare step of blocking a Bill on the grounds that the reforms would "lead to the fragmentation and marketisation of the NHS and threaten its ethos and purpose".
She said: "This Bill has been haemorrhaging support for two years and now has very few friends indeed."
But health minister Earl Howe said he was disappointed by the "negative tone and content" of Labour's amendment after 25 days of scrutiny of the legislation in the Lords.
The minister said he had moved or accepted 375 amendments from all sides.
"We have made a Bill whose key principles command wide acceptance, more joined-up, more clear and in certain aspects less risky," he said.