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"Are you with us or against us?" Greens lay down NHS challenge to Labour

Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West and the Green Party's candidate for Bristol West, has laid down the challenge to Labour's candidate to back the NHS Reinstatement Bill, ahead of Jeremy Corbyn's visit to the city on Wednesday [1].

Molly Scott Cato is one of a number of Green Party candidates to receive the backing of the National Health Action Party. The Party is dedicated to protecting our NHS and has decided not to stand in a number of constituencies and, instead, endorse the candidate most likely to support a national health service betrayed by almost a decade of Tory rule [2].

The Green Party is the only parliamentary political party to fully support the NHS Bill [3], which was backed in Parliament by Green co-leader Caroline Lucas MP [4] and aims to roll back decades of NHS privatisation and restore a truly public, fully-funded National Health Service. 

Jeremy Corbyn is one of just a handful of Labour MPs who have supported the bill previously. Not one Bristol Labour Party candidate has pledged to back the Bill that would remove the profit motive from the NHS [5].

Bristol West is a two-horse race between the Greens and Labour. And Molly Scott Cato, whose son is a junior doctor, claims that voters in the constituency need to know whether the Labour Party is 'with us or against us' on the NHS.

Ahead of Corbyn's visit, Molly said: 

"The Green Party is united in its support for the restoration of a fully-funded, truly public health service; we are a Party that never has and never will sell our NHS down the river of private profit. And while it was Labour that expanded the disastrous PFI scheme that has saddled so many of our hospitals with billions of pounds of debt, it is heartening to see that the Labour leader is backing the NHS Bill and a break from his party's privatisation past."

"It is all a meaningless gesture if Jeremy Corbyn can't persuade his own MPs to back the bill, though. Which is why I'm laying down the challenge to Labour candidates across Bristol; will you stand with your leader and back the NHS Bill?"

"Our NHS is in desperate need; spending is at its lowest level since the 1950s [6] and, at the same time, hospitals have been asked to make £22bn worth of cuts [7] – cuts that researchers have concluded are responsible for 30,000 excess deaths a year [8].”

“Around 15,000 beds have been slashed across the country, cutting capacity by more than 5 million patients every year [9]. In Bristol, there are plans, which were only revealed after pressure from healthcare campaigners, to scythe £139m from local healthcare services and enforce a further £104m of as yet unspecified cuts. We can’t stand by and let this happen [10].”

"As the Green MP for Bristol West, I will fight to reverse this race to the bottom and give our NHS the emergency kiss of life it so desperately needs. I would be proud to stand alongside Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill and bring us one step closer to reinstating a fully funded, truly public NHS."


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