mental health bill
by Mike George
government's controversial mental health bill has suffered one of
its biggest setbacks after 36 backbench Labour MPs signed an early
day motion against the bill.
Such backbench opposition to the bill could force a House of Commons
defeat for the government.
Seventy seven MPs, including the 36 Labour backbenchers, have, in
total, signed the motion condemning the bill which
critics argue will increase powers to compulsory detain people under
mental health law.
argue the bill is a suitable balance between patient rights and
The Labour signatories would be sufficient to overturn the government’s
65-strong majority if all the signatures were turned into votes.
The Tory shadow health and children’s minister Tim Loughton
claimed last month that the government was unlikely to introduce
the bill this parliamentary session and that ministers were instead
considering amending the mental health act of 1983..
However, anti-bill campaigners are now seeking a meeting with Department
of Health officials to clarify the position.
Paul Farmer, chair of the Mental Health Alliance, a coalition campaigning
against the bill, said: “It’s very encouraging that
MPs are signing up to the early day motion, we’ve been doing
a lot of work with parliamentarians. If the bill did get into parliament
then it would be subject to extremely rigorous scrutiny.”
The motion was tabled by Diane Abbot, Labour MP for Hackney North,
in December last year.
The motion states new mental health law based on the draft bill
“will seriously restrict the rights, choices and well being
of people with mental distress and force too many people into compulsory
early day motion and a full list of MPs who signed the motion opposing
the mental health bill
13, 2005: Ministers refuse to add "treatability" condition
to draft mental health bill - fears that more people will be
compulsory treated is fuelled by government response to parliamentary
think forcible medication protects the public
Catherine Lowe, ex-service user, Stockport, Greater Manchester
March 3, 2006
I am heartened to see there is healthy, cross-party opposition to
one of the most regressive and pernicious pieces of legislation
of this parliament. The government is rightfully being challenged
for its failure to respond equitably to the concerns of the pre-legislative
parliamentary scrutiny committee and the public who will be further
damaged by this ill-considered bill.
experienced the catastrophic effects of medication. The iatrogenic
effects, to me, also concern the stigma implicit in the promotion
of wrongful ideas that people with mental distress must be medicated
against their will to protect the public. The claims for effectiveness
of medication are grossly exaggerated.
The bill must not hoodwink the public into believing compulsory
treatment and other proposals in the bill will resolve mental distress.
For this it will be necessary to go back to the drawing board.
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