Sidcup resident takes Queeen Mary's fight to new level
PUBLISHED: 09:30 29 November 2012
Bexley residents have desperately fought to keep Queen Mary's hospital functioning over the years.
But one man who lives just across the road from the stricken site is taking his protestations to a whole new level. Laurence Williams hopes to become a parliamentary candidate for the National Health Action (NHA) party, a new political group which was formed in May but had its official launch earlier this month.
The 49-year-old has lived in Sidcup for the last 20 years while his wife Denise has lived in Bexley borough all her life. The couple’s youngest children – Christian, 20, and 15-year-old Maxine – were born in the now-closed maternity unit.
The BT engineer said: “You can see the hospital from my house. It’s soul-destroying what has happened. Seeing the maternity unit close was galling and this is a very contentious issue. It might be an advantage that I live right across the road from Queen Mary’s.”
Laurence wants to be chosen by the NHA party to stand for the Old Bexley and Sidcup constituency. “I’m passionate about the NHS. Good healthcare should be a right in Britain and I simply don’t think this is happening in Queen Mary’s. As well as the maternity unit, the accident and emergency unit has gone andthere are fears it is slowly being pulled apart.
“It’s up to the party leaders if I get chosen. If I do, I’ll make sure the other candidates know I’m there because the public have become a bit blasé about party politics.
“Old Bexley and Sidcup’s current MP James Brokenshire seems like another Tory candidate who has been parachuted in to a safe constituency. I’m not sure he has the affection for Queen Mary’s that I have.”
Mr Brokenshire said: “I welcome anyone who is prepared to make the case for Queen Mary’s as I have done alongside community activists for many years. As a Bexley resident the future of the hospital remains my top priority.
“I hope Mr Williams will support current proposals to secure the hospital’s future.”
The MP’s potential opponent is no stranger to the political process. He has stood independently for council elections since 1990 and was a parliamentary candidate in the Erith and Thamesmead constituency won by Teresa Pearce in 2010, standing for the English Democrats and coming sixth out of nine.
The Durham Road resident said: “The hospital is being gradually emptied. It is the only one in the Bexley borough and I don’t think proper consideration has been given to the people who need the services.” Health campaigner Fran Hook, of Keep Our NHS Public, said Laurence would have a hard task beating Mr Brokenshire in blue Bexley.
“I would definitely support Mr Williams if he is chosen by the party,” she said.
“It would be the correct decision to put someone up for election in Bexley with the history of the hospital.
“He would receive the backing of more people than just me but it would be hard to go up against a Conservative candidate in this constituency.”
n For more on NHA, visit www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk/