Government fails again to set date for mental health bill

The government has again failed to give any indication of when
it plans to take its next step in updating mental health
legislation, writes Katie Leason.

Speaking at Mind’s annual conference, Rosie Winterton,
health minister with responsibility for mental health, avoided
giving any details about the government’s timeframe for
action saying it was “difficult” for her to do so.

Following the Mental Health Bill’s absence from the
Queen’s speech in November, the government promised it would
introduce a bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. This had been
expected to begin earlier this year, but as yet no date has been

Shadow health minister Tim Loughton accused the government of
playing for time. He criticised the lack of information on when the
pre-legislative scrutiny would start, who would be on the
committee, and whether the committee would have any power to make

He described the government’s timetable as
“completely unclear”, and warned that if mental health
reform was pushed any further into the parliamentary long grass
then it would be in danger of being lost in the run-up to a general

His party remains opposed to the bill, he said, adding that it
would “join with any partners to strangle the bill at birth
if it comes to parliament in anything like its current

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