REDDITCH’S MP has threatened legal action over claims by her rival she had ‘systematically voted against the NHS’.
Karen Lumley has written to Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate Rebecca Blake asking her to withdraw the election leaflet insisting there was not a single occasion when she had voted against the NHS and she was taking legal advice on the matter.
But Ms Blake has refused to back down insisting she would not be ‘scared into silence’. She added the claim was justified as Mrs Lumley had voted for the Health and Social Care Bill which led to a ‘damaging’ re-organisation of the NHS at a cost of £3billion and put profits before patients.
She added her Conservative rival had also backed the 119 Clause bill which allows Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and the Trust Special Administrator to close hospitals in financial difficulty across England with just 40 days notice even if local people and doctors disagree.
Ms Blake also criticised her for failing to turn up to vote in support of the the NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill to protect the NHS from further opening up to the private sector, when some of her Conservative colleagues did.
“The Conservative MP should at least try and defend her record and let the people decide in May, instead she prefers to try and scare me into silence on something as important as the NHS. Well, it will not work, I will continue to repeat that the Redditch MP has systematically voted against the NHS,” Ms Blake said.
Mrs Lumley told the Standard she had sent the letter after concerns were raised with her by a number of concerned constituents. She added she was still having discussions on any potential legal action but her aim had been to give Ms Blake the chance to set the record straight.
“I thought she was wilfully misleading my constituents and playing upon the issues we have had in Redditch for political advantage,” she said.
“No MP from any party would vote against the NHS. I use and rely on the NHS and want the best for it. I have worked closely with the Save the Alex campaign and have done so for many years. I also have a close working relationship with the NHS Trust and with doctors and nurses alike. Indeed I spent Christmas morning at the Alexandra hospital.
“Ms Blake points to a number of votes which she claims back her spurious accusation but I fail to see how they do. She is entitled to disagree with the Government’s policies but to deceive Redditch voters in the way she has is completely unacceptable.”
The NHS is set to be a crucial part of what is shaping up to be a bitter fight for the Redditch seat ahead of May’s General Election, particularly with the decision on whether or not the proposals for the future of the Alexandra Hospital are clinically viable due in February.