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Help stop Lib Dem delay to our hospital!

Letter from Westminster - 5 July 2004

If you have been following the recent debate between Tony Blair and Michael Howard, you will know that 'choice' is a hotly contested subject at the moment. From my perspective, you have, on the one hand, Labour trying to personalise our public services to make them more responsive to our individual needs; on the other, the Tories offering an opt-out for the few, in the form of subsidies for private provision. I know which one I prefer.

The Lib Dems' contribution to this debate came when their leader, Charles Kennedy, stood up at Prime Minister's Question Time and insisted that, instead of choice, 'what people want are quality public services available to them locally'. Of course, Tony Blair responded, people want a decent hospital or school on their doorstep - that is why, for example, Labour has approved 68 major hospital building projects since May 1997. Labour's programme offers both local quality and increased control over the service we receive.

My response, though, was to think locally - of the plans for a South Bristol Hospital. Here, I thought, is a proposal that ought to meet with Charles Kennedy's approval: a high-quality hospital; a state-of-the-art health facility in the heart of South Bristol.

So you can understand my surprise when I discovered that, at the very same time, the Lib Dems in Bristol were doing their utmost to delay our hospital! I believe this is the last thing South Bristol residents want, which is why I am asking you to help me pressurise the Lib Dems to put the project back on track. If you would like further information, please phone 0117 909 0063.

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