Corbyn joins battle to save A&E unit

Speaking from a tree stump - Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in Sleaford. EMN-161120-165027001
Speaking from a tree stump - Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in Sleaford. EMN-161120-165027001

The Westminster spotlight swung on Sleaford on Sunday as Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the town and called for an NHS campaigning day in response to fears for the future of Grantham Hospital A and E unit.

He was supporting local candidate Jim Clarke, who is standing in the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election on December 8 after the resignation of Tory MP Stephen Phillips.

Speaking from a tree stump at a rally for up to 150 supporters in Boston Road Recreation Ground, he said: “We have been managing to drag out of this Government the Sustainability and Transformation Plans that they have been producing all over the country. We have discovered every hospital is running a debt or a deficit, every clinical commissioning group is struggling to provide the services that are necessary, many pharmacies are in danger of closing, many GP surgeries have long waiting lists, many A and E departments are under serious threat, so as you have now, in the case of Grantham, an A and E department that’s closed at nights, therefore if you have an accident, a heart attack or stroke you have to go further - if you go further there is a greater danger, obviously, of what will happen to you.”

He was calling for an NHS Campaigning Day of events in 500 towns and cities this Saturday, raising awareness of issues surrounding cutting, privatising and selling off the NHS.

The Labour leader said he would be fighting for a fairer deal for Lincolnshire, improving broadband connectivity for businesses and improving railway services in the county.

While expressing surprise at Mr Phillips’ resignation, he rejected claims of a ‘two-horse race’ between the Conservatives and UKIP to represent the 62 per cent of the constituency who voted for Brexit.

He added: “We want to support agricultural workers and the agricultural industry, we want sustainable agriculture in this country, we want decent rural bus services and decent rural and small town housing for everybody.”

Mr Clarke said it was a fantastic turn out and welcomed the support of his party leader.

UKIP MEPs Roger Helmer and Stuart Agnew joined their candidate Victoria Ayling on Saturday to reassure farmers about what affect Brexit would have on labour costs and supported anti-wind farm campaigners in Heckington.

Dr Caroline Johnson, the Tory Candidate, was visited by Tory Digital Minister, Matt Hancock, on Monday when she pressed him on the roll out of superfast broadband in the county. Mr Hancock said: “Eighty-six per cent of premises across Lincolnshire now have access to super fast broadband, but I will work with Caroline if elected to bring high speed broadband to 100 per cent - all households and businesses - within the next four years.”

The other candidates standing in the by-election are: Ross Pepper (Lib Dem), Marianne Overton (Lincs Ind), Mark Suffield (Ind), Paul Coyne (Ind), Sarah Stock (Ind), Peter E Hill (Official Monster Raving Loony Party), David Bishop (Bus-Pass Elvis Party).