A COUNTY MP has criticised the Labour party for spreading “fake news” over a rejected NHS amendment.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin was responding to criticism from Labour councillor and former parliamentary candidate Samantha Charles, who accused her of “enabling the government” to “sell off” the NHS.

Cllr Charles was writing following the voting down of Clause 17 in Parliament last week, designed to protect the NHS in future foreign trade deals. The amendment was designed to exclude the NHS from being subject to any form of control from outside the UK, as well as regulating the control and pricing of medicines.

Cllr Charles said: “Despite a weekly public show of hand clapping and many photo opportunities at NHS services, Harriett Baldwin was one of 340 Conservative MPs who voted down the amendment which would have prevented the NHS from being negotiated away, and sold off behind closed doors. Just a day later, nurses and carers were ignored by the government in a public sector pay award, which The Institute for Public Policy Research think tank said was “unforgivable” and an “unjustifiable snub. “ Harriett was elected to represent all her constituents, who overwhelmingly support our publicly owned NHS and nurses and carers, not enable the government to sell it off for profit and devalue its staff, who have worked tirelessly and risked their lives for us during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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In response, Mrs Baldwin accused Labour of spreading “fake news” to scare patients and staff. She said: “The NHS is safe and it is a deep disappointment that the Labour party continue to spread fake news and scare patients and staff at a time when they need our support. I’ve been proud to support the NHS through this coronavirus crisis and locally I’ve worked closely with the health and social care teams to ensure that they are able to do the best possible job as we fight together against this terrible disease. The Trade Bill, which I was pleased to support in Parliament last week, was a continuity bill to preserve all the agreements we currently have with the European Union and put them into UK law.

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“When trade agreements are made, they will be subject to the scrutiny of Parliament in the usual way, and I am confident that Ministers have no intention of lowering standards as we seek new global trading arrangements. The NHS is our most valued national asset and I wish Labour would stop playing these political games by tabling completely irrelevant amendments to this continuity legislation and stirring up fear.”