Lib Dem candidate laughs off Labour claims that he held ‘charade’ St Helier hospital public meetings

The Labour Carshalton and Wallington candidate vying to become MP has accused the former Lib Dem MP of putting on a ‘charade’ public meeting and supporting legislation that put St Helier’s hospital directly at risk.

Siobhan Tate made the claims against Tom Brake at a hustings in front of a 350-strong audience at Stanley Park High this week.

The debate, organised by the Church of the Good Shepherd, followed the school hustings earlier in the day where Stanley Park High Year 8s got the chance to grill candidates.

Mrs Tate said: “He (Tom Brake) pretends to campaign for St Helier’s hospital with a petition that is addressed to no-one and putting on the charade of a public meeting that was orchestrated by his office so that only one political party would be allowed to speak.”

Mr Brake countered her claims arguing that accusing him of running the campaign to serve his own purposes did a disservice to the campaigners and the thousands of people who had signed the petition.

He said: “I’ve been campaigning to save St Helier’s for the past 20 years so at least I’ve been consistent in my self-interest!”

Matthew Maxwell-Scott of the Conservatives refused to rule out the rumoured plans of closing St Helier and Sutton hospitals in favour of an 800 bed ‘super-hospital’ on the Sutton site.

He said: “Normally we’re asked if we would die in a ditch to save St Helier and we say ‘of course we would!’.”

“But the most important thing is patient outcomes, and if I saw a proposal the patients would be better served by building a spanking new hospital somewhere else, of course I would take that seriously.

“Having said that, as far as I am aware St Helier is doing an excellent job.”

Both Ross Hemingway and Bill Main-Ian said they were in favour of saving St Helier’s hospital, with Mr Hemingway arguing that there should be no place for profit within the NHS.

Former police officer Mr Main-Ian dismissed the idea that his party were intent on privatising the NHS as ‘complete rubbish’.

The candidates also faced tough questions concerning education, the housing crisis, sustainable transport and a contentious question on religious tolerance and the persecution of Christians.

Image courtesy of Tom Brake via YouTube, with thanks

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