Tory MP Philip Davies speaks for 90 minutes to kill bill allowing free hospital parking

Written by @singersz on 30 October 2015 in Diary

A Conservative MP spoke for an hour and a half in the Commons in a bid to block attempts to give carers free hospital parking.

Philip Davies and two fellow Tory MPs conspired to successfully derail the Hospital Parking Charges Bill. It means that Labour MP Julie Cooper's bill to exempt carers from parking charges is now unlikely to become law.

Introducing her bill, Cooper told MPs how she had cared for her own mother when she was in hospital:

"Each night when I left tired and distressed I queued up to pay for my parking. At that time it was costing me £40 a week. On one of those days driving out of the car park, it occurred to me that I was lucky because I could afford to pay this charge and I went on to reflect on the matter and I thought what about those people who can't afford to pay."

The level of charges varies between hospital NHS trusts, but the average cost in England is £39 per week and in London it can be about £130 per week.

Davies spoke at length in a calculated move to kill the bill by using up the Commons time allotted to it. His filibustering was aided by fellow Tory MPs Christopher Chope and David Nuttall who spoke for 30 minutes and 50 minutes respectively.

With many carers having to spend huge sums on daily NHS parking bills, shadow health minister Barbara Keeley suggested the tactics adopted by the Tory MPs were “disgraceful and insulting to carers”.

In his speech, Davies criticised the bill:

"It would be a logistical nightmare to enforce and implement it would cost NHS Trusts up down country millions of ponds potentially. It would exempt an awful lot of people who are just as worthy recipients of some parking concessions.

"Finally hospitals already have the power to implement the policy the honourable lady is coming forward with if they so wish."

It is not the first time Davies has used length speeches to kill a bill he doesn’t like.

Asked about his ‘filibustering’ tendencies by TP earlier this year, the Shipley MP made no apologies. He told us:

“That’s probably a slightly jaundiced view of it. It’s about making sure that bills get proper scrutiny, for sure. I’m also a fan of using whatever parliamentary procedures are in place in order to pursue my beliefs and what I think is the best thing.

“And if by keeping a debate going for a period of time you can stop a bill that you think will be damaging for the country and your constituents, then it seems to me that any good parliamentarian would keep a debate going for as long as possible in order to stop that from happening.”


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