’48 new hospitals’ has always been a scam – but backbench MPs are having to do the job of the Opposition in calling it out
Back-bench Labour MP Jon Trickett has long been one of the pillars of opposition to the Tories in the absence of any functioning leadership or opposition from his party’s notional leader. And it was again Trickett who was first out of the blocks when the Tories tried to claim that they had opened a ‘new cancer hospital’ in Cumbria yesterday.
Trickett was quick to point out that the ‘new hospital’ is no such thing. Instead, it’s a unit inside an existing hospital, one that was announced in 2017, long before Johnson became Tory leader:
And he followed up again later today, taking on Javid directly over his dishonest claim and adding that the ‘new’ unit is in fact a replacement facility:
He was backed up by a member of staff from the hospital in question:
Trickett’s point was also quickly picked up and amplified by others about their local hospitals, who rightly pointed out that Johnson’s ‘new hospital’ plan is (and always was) a scam, claiming as new either hospitals that have merged – actually reducing the availability of treatment to local people – or small new or repurposed units within existing hospitals.
The scale and dishonesty of the con is remarkable, with in at least one case a new entrance to the hospital and a change of the Accident and Emergency floor plan being classified as a ‘new hospital’:
Front-bencher Jon Ashworth did eventually get round to making the same point, though only a single tweet – compared to the five he posted about workshy Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s holiday, despite Ashworth’s brief as Shadow Health Secretary being – well, health. At the time of writing, party leader Keir Starmer had not even managed one tweet on the issue.
As so often in the past sixteen months, the real work of opposition, pointing out Tory lies and standing up for the interests of the people, is being borne by left-wingers sitting on Labour’s back benches.
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