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MP’s ‘supermarket ambush’ claim over drop-in surgery

David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP.

David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale MP.

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris has accused a national union of “ambushing” a drop-in event at a supermarket.

Mr Morris said members from Unite Union caused distress to people at a surgery he was holding for constituents at Morrisons in Morecambe.

Mr Morris said this was part of a campaign to target the Conservatives on NHS issues.

But Margaret James-Barber, 67, from Carnforth, who attended the surgery, said she was “horrified” when Mr Morris accused her of ambushing him, and claimed she was not a member of a political party or union.

She said: “I was asking Mr Morris about the increased use of private companies in the NHS under this coalition and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Partnership). He became angry and stormed off. This of course meant I received no response to my genuine concerns and no other constituents could speak to their MP either. I was left shaken and upset. I then went to do my shopping and bought some bread.”

Mr Morris said: “I didn’t storm off, I did nothing of the sort. I sat next to the lady and suddenly cameras came out. I am deeply concerned that Unite are duping my constituents by creating a fictitious NHS campaign.

“The hospital pharmacy is not being privatised and the Transatlantic Trade Partnership will not affect the NHS in any way shape or form. This is the third fictitious campaign about the NHS that has been run in this constituency.”

The MP has written to Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, to complain about the incident, saying three Unite members filmed and took photos without permission. He also said activists were asked to leave Morrisons by security as they were “creating a threatening scene”.

The outpatient pharmacy service at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is currently being put out to tender, inviting interest from private pharmaceutical companies to enter into a partnership with University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

A Unite spokesman said: “Unite supports a number of community groups fighting to stop the sell-off of the NHS. Politicians of all parties should listen to local people.”

Jean Taylor, of campaign group No Health Sell-Off Morecambe Bay, said: “We know that people from across the area are really worried about the impact of the government’s privatisation agenda on the NHS, with over 9,000 residents signing a petition against the privatisation of the pharmacies at Morecambe Bay.”

 

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