Tories survive health vote

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Indy Politics
Labour attempts to injure the Government with an attack on its running of the National Health Service were defeated by seven votes last night.

One Conservative MP was brought in by ambulance for a House of Commons division which ended with both sides declaring victory.

Labour sources were delighted that they had pushed the vote so close and that some Ulster Unionists had backed them, while the Tories said it proved the Government was still strong.

The opposition had claimed that more than 400 children had been turned away from intensive care beds in four months - a figure which was dismissed by the Prime Minister during angry question time.

Afterwards, a Labour spokesman said the Government was now under constant pressure. Pairing arrangements, which allowed MPs of opposing parties not to vote, collapsed last month after allegations of cheating.

"We are going to continue to run them ragged as much as we can until we can force a general election," he said.

A Conservative spokeswoman said: "It is a very comfortable majority in line with the rest of our recent majorities."

Sir John Gorst, who last month announced that the Government could no longer count on his support after a dispute over the closure of an accident and emergency unit at a hospital in his Hendon North constituency, said he would vote against Labour.

Sir John, who last night received the backing of his constituency association, said he had won significant concessions for Edgware Hospital.

Charles Goodson-Wickes, Conservative MP for Wimbledon, went to the house in an ambulance after a hernia operation.