When it was announced that Brownite boot-boys Tom Watson and Ian Austin would be the campaign managers for Labour’s by-election in Corby you knew it would not take long to get dirty. Despite being way ahead in the polls and likely to take the seat, it seems dishonesty is the order of the day on the ground. The campaign built for Andy Sawford – the son of a Labour MP turned lobbyist – focusses on an apparent threat to the local Kettering Hospital. Depending on which Labour leaflet you read (kindly paid for by Unison) the threat to local jobs in the area is either in the hundreds of the thousands.The problem is it is not true…
Any changes to South East Midlands NHS are overseen by clinicians through the Healthier Together program, who are looking at two options for restructuring health provision in the area. While Sawford cries about “major cuts to A&E, maternity, acute and children’s services at TWO of the five hospitals,” the local NHS explain what is actually happening: “Services such as A&E, maternity and outpatients would remain on all five sites under both options.” Sawford’s petition to save the hospital is nothing more than email and postcode harvesting.
UPDATE MONDAY: As Guido reported in the Daily Star Sunday yesterday, Sawford is in a right muddle about health:
HONESTY has gone out of the window in the Corby by-election to find a replacement MP after Louise Mensch quit. Labour’s candidate Andy Sawford, whose dad used to be an MP, is basing his campaign on saving the local hospital. This is despite the NHS board which runs it confirming there is no threat to it. The former lobbyist has not always been such a vocal defender of the health service, though. Back in 2009 he criticised plans to “ring-fence” the NHS budget from cuts, correctly claiming it only “postponed the pain” and that it “created an uneven playing field in local public service delivery”. You won’t see that on Sawford’s election leaflets.