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Recorder letters: Spring daffodils, KGH charge, Mike Gapes, antisemitism in Labour Party and Wes Streeting absence

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:15 12 March 2019

St Peter's Church, Aldborough Hatch. Picture: RON JEFFRIES

St Peter's Church, Aldborough Hatch. Picture: RON JEFFRIES

Ron Jeffries

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Reader’s picture

Ron Jeffries shared this picture, saying:

Some of the 6,000 bulbs planted over the past three years by members and their friends at St Peter’s Church in Aldborough Hatch.

The display this spring brought much pleasure to residents and visitors alike.

• Upload your pictures at iwitness24.co.uk

Hospital wrong over sick father

Tanweer Khan, Dawlish Drive, Ilford, writes:

I am extremely saddened to note that a Barking woman has been hit with a £3K bill (Recorder) from King George Hospital – after having been told that the treatment for her ill father

was free.

The issue of health tourism is well documented, and it is of course only fair, as a general rule, to charge overseas visitors who travel to the UK to seek medical treatment.

That said, in this case, it appears that Ms Bhogal’s father was rushed to the hospital with a suspected urinary tract infection.

This would, surely, qualify as an emergency – and therefore be treated as such.

From what I understand treatment at NHS A&E departments is free for all, irrespective of their immigration status.

If the staff at the hospital subsequently decided to admit the patient to a ward for monitoring and observation and provided the patient’s distressed family with false information in respect to fees, then surely the patient (or their family) cannot be held liable.

For the hospital to insist on this payment, whilst admitting that they gave Ms Bhogal and her family incorrect and false information, is nothing short of “daylight robbery” as Ms Bhogal has described it.

I would urge the hospital to revisit the case and do the honourable thing. They made a mistake, and it is totally disingenuous of them to pass the blame on to the patient.

I understand legally Ms Bhogal would have a very strong case to refuse this payment on the grounds that the contract she entered into with the hospital with respect to her father’s treatment overrode everything else, and as such she is not liable for the £3K bill.

MP Mike served with integrity

Satnam Singh, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

The sudden resignation of Mike Gapes from Labour Party has created quite a stir in local politics.

His resignation has proven the old saying right, “In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies”.

When others are criticising him, not one of his friends have come forward at the very least to voice their appreciation for Mike Gapes and the hard work he did for his constituents over the years.

Mike Gapes had very strong principles; he lived and died with them (politically). He must have known the consequences of leaving Labour Party but he sacrificed his political career over his beliefs.

After Ilford South voted to remain in Europe and Mike followed that mandate. He was never clueless unlike his leader.

All those who scold him for using the Labour Party to get elected, and then accuse him of being disloyal, need to remember that, for decades Jeremy Corbyn also fought and won elections under the Labour Party banner then voted against his own party in Parliament more than 500 times. So much for party loyalty.

Now the Labour Party will begin the process of selecting their next prospective candidate for Ilford South. I hope the NEC (Nation Executive Committee) is kept away from the selection process.

If the NEC is allowed to a form a selection committee from NEC members, they will select a candidate who is not necessarily from Ilford South.

This is called parachuting favourite candidates. If a local candidate is too strong for their liking and the NEC has a different candidate in mind, they may impose their will and change the goal posts so that local candidates do not meet the necessary criteria and there is nothing the local party can do about it.

It should be left to local CLP members (Constituency Labour Party) to elect a selection panel. That panel should select the best available local candidate on merit alone as there is no dearth of credible candidates in Ilford South.

As for Mike Gapes, he should hold his head high. He served his constituents with honesty, dedication and integrity.

Labour not racist or antisemitic

Diana Neslen, Murray Glickman, Barbara White and Tony Traub, Ilford, full addresses supplied, write:

As Jewish members of Ilford South Constituency Labour Party, we absolutely reject Mike Gapes’ bitter parting shot, describing Labour as “a racist, antisemitic party”.

We feel, and have always felt, completely welcome and at home in the party and we salute Jeremy Corbyn’s formidable record of campaigning for human rights and against racism including antisemitism.

Unlike the Tories, Labour has not sought to create “hostile environments” for foreigners, migrants or refugees and has been instrumental in the introduction of anti-racist, human rights and equalities legislation at a time when the rise of the far right

throughout the world poses potentially existential danger to Jews.

It is unseemly for Mike Gapes to use us as a smokescreen for pursuing his political objectives.

Reason I missed antisemitism debate

Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, writes:

I write in response to Mr Sussman’s letter about my absence from a parliamentary debate on antisemitism recently (Recorder letters).

I was out of the country with the Royal Marines as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, an important programme that allows MPs to spend time with the people who serve in the armed forces.

As co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews I play a leading role in combating antisemitism – in the country and, sadly, within my own party.

In the last week alone I have not pulled my punches with our party’s failure on this - from questioning Jeremy Corbyn at our Parliamentary Labour Party meeting to successfully campaigning for the suspension of Chris Williamson from the Labour Party.

Last week I also served on the Bill Committee for the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Bill - which aims to locate and return items stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners.

Last week I also criticised my party’s failure to wholeheartedly support the ban on Hezbollah and I read their antisemitic comments out in a debate on the subject.

I understand Mr Sussman’s anger at the failure of the Labour Party to properly tackle antisemitism, but I wholly reject any suggestion that this is an issue that I have failed to take action on. My record is clear.

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