Ministers granted more powers in wake of Lewisham controversy

Demonstrators outside the High Court celebrate as Mr Justice Silber said the Secretary of State had acted unlawfully Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

MPs have tonight voted through measures giving Ministers more powers to close hospitals. The Government has been trying to change the law after judges ruled the Health Secretary acted illegally by trying to downgrade services at Lewisham Hospital last year.

The controversial Clause 119 has been added to the Health Care bill, meaning Special Administrators who take over any failing hospitals can push through other local changes.

The Government insists proper consultation will still take place - but the opposition says it's got it 'spectacularly wrong'. A number of MPs who were involved in the Lewisham decision spoke in the House of Commons today, including Jim Dowd, Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge. He said he believed Lewisham Hospital had been "stitched up".