Health Bill passes first stage in parliament

The government's controversial Health Bill has passed the first stage of its journey through Parliament with MPs voting 321 to 235 in favour at its second reading.

The second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill. A more detailed examination of the Bill will take place during committee, report and third reading stages before it is passed to the House of Lords.

Despite mounting criticism of the reforms, including from the cross-party Health Select Committee, no coalition MPs voted against the Bill.

On Monday, Mr Lansley dismissed the concerns of the Health Select Committee, who said the 'surprise' decision to abolish PCTs had already led to poor decision-making and additional costs in the NHS.

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