Gazette Column - 11/6/15

The fight goes on but I won't kid you and pretend there's an easy win on the horizon because this battle got a whole lot harder when the Tories won May's General Election.

The centre’s fate was discussed at a weekend emergency meeting of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party and we're more determined than ever to work with patients, community groups, staff and trade unions to save what we value.

I'd raised before the closure in Parliament with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister David Cameron and the response of the latest Tory I questioned, Chris Grayling, who is Leader of the Commons, was frankly the kind of evasive tosh I've unfortunately come to expect from these uncaring Tories.

Miserable Grayling ducking the issue adds to the pain of Labour's election defeat because I had a written guarantee from our party's Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, that he'd keep it open.

The contrast couldn't be clearer between the great things a Labour Government would've done for Tyneside and the indifference of Tories who'd struggle to find places like Jarrow, Hebburn, Boldon, Pelaw, Wardley or Cleadon on the map.

But I promise you we're not going to simply lie down and accept defeat over the NHS. The campaign goes on. With the Jarrow Labour Party, I'm going to keep up the pressure on the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group to review an utterly contemptible decision.

People in our area rely on that Walk In Centre. It's a local, convenient and valuable service. It's reassuring for some just to know it's there. Shutting it will hurt the sick, elderly and vulnerable. That's why we're fighting back.

Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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