Francis Maude writes Sir Gus: Election meetings should not be permitted on NHS premises

In Gordon Brown, the labour party on April 12, 2010 at 20:33

This is the full text of Francis Maude’s letter to Sir Gus regarding Labour’s flagrant abuse of an NHS Hospital as the launching pad for their manifesto.

Dear Sir Gus,

I am writing to complain about a flagrant breach of General Election guidance by the Labour Party over their cynical use of a hospital to launch their manifesto.

You will be aware that Labour today launched their manifesto at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.  As part of this launch, Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman both gave keynote speeches in a new wing of the hospital, decorated with Labour Party branding, and both made political references to it, saying it ‘embodies the timeless ideal of compassion in action’.

This completely contravenes the Cabinet Office’s General Election guidance which prohibits election meetings from taking place on NHS premises:

‘Election meetings should not be permitted on NHS premises’ (General Election     Guidance 2010, Cabinet Office; emphasis their own)

This breach of the rules is completely unacceptable and I ask you to investigate how this was allowed to happen.  In particular, I would be grateful if you could provide answers to the following questions:

·         What communications took place between the Labour Party and the NHS Trust regarding the use of the hospital?

·         Was the Department of Health aware that the hospital was to be used in this way?

What involvement did Sir Albert Bore, the Chairman of the NHS Trust and leader of the Labour group in Birmingham, play in organising this event?

Were any services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital disrupted by the presence of hundreds of party activists, journalists and politicians at the Labour Party’s event?

Labour claim that this guidance has not been breached as the new wing is a PFI project, not an opened hospital and is therefore owned by private firm.  However, Gordon Brown described it as a ‘new acute NHS hospital that will be open within weeks’ in his speech.  He is therefore clearly using the fact that it is an NHS hospital for electoral gain, contrary to your guidance.  Considering the imminence of the General Election, I would also be grateful if you could deal with this request as quickly as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Francis Maude

%d bloggers like this: