In other news… health, environment and espionage

On the NHS:

Liberal Democrats may win a key concession on the controversial Health and Social Bill before the legislation is passed, Politics Home has learned.

Sources have indicated that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, including key rebel Baroness Williams, have struck a deal which would allow Lib Dem peers currently opposed to the legislation to secure changes to the role of the Health Secretary. They are currently concerned that the Bill will mean the Secretary of State is not responsible for ensuring that patients across the country receive the same services and standards of care.

Politics Home understands that the responsibility of the Health Secretary to ensure the provision of health services could be re-written so that it allays fears that he could “wash his hands” of the NHS. [Politics Home]

From Liverpool Liberal Democrats:

City Lib-Dems’ leader Cllr Paula Keaveney has proposed that Liverpool should aim to become the “European Green Capital”, as a platform from which to begin their electoral revival.

In addition, though, rather than merely adopting this latest suggestion, the party has instead opened a consultation process with the city, in the hope residents’ views can help them shape the future direction of their policies – and their ambitious “Green” agenda. [Liverpool Daily Post]

And Mike Hancock:

A Liberal Democrat MP whose former aide is accused by MI5 of spying for Russia has resigned from the Commons defence committee.

Mike Hancock, the MP for Portsmouth South, said he hoped to rejoin the committee after the deportation hearing involving Katia Zatuliveter, with whom he had a four-year affair, was over.

“I would like to make clear that at no time did I pass on material to Ms Zatuliveter which was not in the public domain or which was classified,” Hancock told the Lib Dem chief whip, Alistair Carmichael. [The Guardian]

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