"Nick Clegg staked his reputation as a strong coalition partner on achieving meaningful changes to this Bill. He should be in no doubt that the weight of expert, staff and public opinion is that the changes made so far have not been sufficient to secure a democratically accountable Health Service.
"The debate in the Lords is turning into a battle for the soul of the NHS. If the Bill passes in its current form, the NHS will never be the same again.
"Since 1948, the NHS has been accountable to patients and public through the Secretary of State. It is a system that has worked well, upholding national standards and providing leadership in times of national emergency.
"But the Tory-led Government plans to throw all this away. Andrew Lansley wants to wash his hands of his public duty and hand over control to an unelected board, opening the door to an unfair national postcode lottery. His Bill threatens to turn the NHS into the biggest quango in the world.
"Under pressure, he has hinted at changes. But we are clear - only full restoration of the Secretary of State's responsibilities is acceptable to Labour.
"Liberal Democrats must today find the courage of their convictions and stand with us to defeat the Tory plans. If they accept the watered-down compromise, they will be selling the NHS short and signing up to a massive diminution of democratic accountability in the NHS."