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Campaigners in West Dorset say Brexit could scar NHS permanently

Brexit  N H S -  Lib  Dem prospective candidate  Ed  Morello

Published at 1:29pm 21st September 2018. (Updated at 2:46pm 21st September 2018)

At a public meeting in Dorchester on Wednesday speakers from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Royal College of Nursing said they all feared for the worse for the service.

Exeter Labour MP and former Minister, Ben Bradshaw, said that he believed cross-party support could yet win a ‘people’s vote’ on any Brexit deal and that the Prime Minister’s proposals could be defeated at Westminster.

Mr Bradshaw said that by working together politicians who wanted to stay in Europe could force a vote on the final deal.

He said he believed the Prime Minister could not win over her own party with the Chequers deal and claimed that more MPs, from all sides, as well as the public, were supporting calls for a people’s vote after being lied to and let down by Brexit campaigners.

The meeting, on an NHS theme, was arranged by West Dorset for Europe, a voluntary cross -party group who are campaigning for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

Newly elected prospective Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for West Dorset Edward Morello said that leaving Europe could potentially decimate the NHS which had already seen thousands of professionals from abroad leave the service since the referendum.

Photo of MP for Exeter, Ben BradshawHe said that even before Brexit the service was already in bad shape with a third of NHS trusts in financial difficulties, between them £1.2billion in the red, and with thousands of vacancies which could not be filled.

He said that 5 per cent of nurses and 10 per cent of NHS doctors came from EU countries with 40,000 foreign nationals working throughout the service.

“Brexit will do irreparable damage to the NHS… in the words of Nye Bevan it will only last as long as people are prepared to fight for it,” he said.

Around eighty people attended the meeting at the Dorford Centre.

Royal College of Nursing representative, Julie Connolly, told the audience that her union was so concerned they felt obliged to step into politics and campaign for a people’s vote on the final deal.

She said that in England alone there were currently 40,000 nursing vacancies – 2,000 caused by foreign workers who had left the NHS following the referendum.

“It left them with a dreadful feeling of uncertainty. They are an important part of the UK workforce and we can’t do without them,” she said.

Mr Bradshaw said that he believed UK innate common sense would prevail and claimed there was evidence every day of people changing their minds as they became concerned by the likely consequences of leaving the EU.

“We must work together in a single campaign to persuade Parliament over the coming six months,” he said.

And he praised the RCN and the British Medical Association in their call for another vote: ”They have led the way because they know what is already happening and what will happen,” he said.

Photo of Ms Wilcox at the Dorford Centre

Said Kay Wilcox, Chair of the local West Dorset for Europe group: ‘We regularly campaign in towns across the county asking people how they think the Brexit negotiations are going. There is a widespread feeling that we are not being well served by our politicians and people feel they should be consulted before such huge final decisions are made about the future of our country.’

 By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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