|Chronicle Wrap: c/o @NHS_Fighter|
The arguments about the rights and wrongs of that are well rehearsed and becoming increasingly public, as this demonstration in Lyric Square recently demonstrated. The Council has clearly been stung by the accusation of being a party to the sell-out, but last week’s wrap-around appears to have provoked a stronger reaction than I have ever seen in four years covering the local politics of this 'ere borough.
Harry Phibbs, a former Cabinet Member and a local Top Tory who genuinely dedicates a lot of time trying to make the area a better place, has written this blog which takes issue with the claims over the hospitals issue made by Andy Slaughter, the secretary of the local community campaign who last week won a commitment from the Secretary of State for Health to review the planned closures.
The political stakes in this battle are now very high indeed, with the prospect of local elections next year. No surprise, then, that Mr Phibbs has spent a great deal of time fisking many claims made by Mr Slaughter in the last year in an attempt to prove that he is untrustworthy. This includes:
"Andrew Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, is busy trying to scare his constituents with the claim that Charing Cross Hospital is still to be closed. Mr Slaughter dismisses the new proposals, negotiated by the Council, for £90 million to be spent enhancing specialist care at the hospital. He also refuses to acknowledge that 24/7 emergency care will continue.
This has left some residents, confused by the claim and counter-claim, not knowing who to believe.
What they might find reassuring is how many of Mr Slaughter's past statements have been disproved".
|Not Andy Slaughter|
Speaking to me this morning Andy Slaughter told me this was a mixture of “old stuff” that was disproved by the Council’s own records in some cases. He said:
“The question is, why re-hash this now. The answer is they know they have made the most serious error of judgment in supporting the hospital closures (someone who knows Andrew Johnson told me he had admitted this). They thought they could bombard residents with propaganda as they used to, but this is too big an issue and too big a lie for them to succeed. They didn’t like the Chronicle wrap and they won’t like the leaflets going out. I don’t think distractions like this will help them – people are asking why their Tory councillors aren’t fighting to save the NHS – as they promised”.This latest escalation is set to continue as the community campaign issue more materials in support of the hospitals, which I understand will be coming out soon. Time will tell if the hospitals are in fact saved.
But I do feel like contacting the United Nations ahead of next years’ local elections, there may be peacekeepers required.
1115 UPDATE - Cllr Andrew Johnson, Cabinet Member for Housing at our Council, has written in to me wanting to respond to Andy Slaughter's statement. He's not a happy bunny. Here's what he had to say
"I have to say that I am highly surprised to see my name mentioned in a response by Andrew Slaughter MP. Needless to say I have made no such admission and any attempt to portray that I have is simply not true.
If Mr Slaughter's response to being caught lying is to lie about me then I think that sadly says a great deal about his character.
I do not think that the council has made an error of judgement. I fully support the position taken by the administration and my Cabinet colleagues and I am delighted that we have saved the specialist services at Charing Cross and will retain a proper hospital there".