The coalition government is allowing NHS hospitals to devote half their beds, appointments and car park spaces to private patients, Labour has claimed.

Members of Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet hope to step up their opposition to increasing “privatisation” of the NHS when the reforms reach the upper house.

But they privately admit being undermined by repeated government claims that the coalition is simply completing Blairite reforms.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the Health and Social Care bill “opens the door to an explosion of private work in NHS facilities”.

Labour has published a series of emails from Liberal Democrat activists complaining Nick Clegg had exceeded the mandate given at party’s spring party conference in Sheffield by supporting the proposals.

And Mr Burnham called on Liberal Democrat peers to oppose the bill - which would mean “longer waits for NHS patients and a two-tier health service” in England - when it reaches the report stage in the House of Lords.