‘Political opportunism’ over NHS

As yet another expensively produced Liberal Democrat leaflet falls on my mat appealing for support from Conservative voters I think it is necessary to examine the claims by Gordon Birtwistle to be the town’s “NHS Champion” and the only candidate to be trusted on the nation’s economy.


The Birtwistle general election campaign in 2010 was based almost entirely on the return of full A&E services to Burnley and prevention of the transfer of the children’s ward to Blackburn. There was no prospect whatever that he would be able to deliver on these aims but that did not stop the righteous momentum flowing from a flurry of demonstrations and protest marches delivering where it really mattered, to Coun. Birtwistle at the ballot box.

The emotive issue of the transfer of the children’s ward to Blackburn is a classic example of political opportunism. There was little in the way of reaction from him when the decision to have a high-level state-of-the-art concentration of in-patient paediatric care in Blackburn was taken in November 2006. Three-and-a-half years later, six weeks before the May 2010 general election, he wheeled out supporters for a protest march against the transfer for the purpose of publicity in the press. The transfer to Blackburn took place the following December accompanied by a resounding silence from our MP, now safely esconced as part of the responsible Coalition Government, and distinct absence of any protest activity on his part.

Harry Brooks

Barnfield Avenue, Burnley