Hands off our Hospital: Redbridge Council’s petition ruling threatens signature count

� It is feared that hundreds of people may not get a chance to sign a petition against plans to close King George Hospital’s A&E and labour ward because Redbridge �Council will not allow its buildings to display the petition ? despite senior councillors speaking out against the planned shake-up.

Thousands of people across four London boroughs are �expected to put their names to the parliamentary petition, which will be used to help �persuade Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley to save threatened services at the �hospital in Barley Lane, �Goodmayes.

Redbridge Council members voted in January to urge a full review into the Health for North East London proposals, which was granted by the �government.

The independent reconfiguration panel charged with �analysing the proposals has since been asked to conduct a full review and report back to Mr Lansley by July 22.

But Wanstead resident Helen Zammett, who is co-ordinating the drawing up and distribution of the petition, has been told by Redbridge Council’s �legal services team that she cannot put the petition in the town hall, one stop shop or �other council-owned buildings.

Council leader Cllr Keith Prince, who is fully backing the campaign to save services, said: “There’s a difference �between what our members do politically and what the council does on �behalf of the �people.

“If we agree to putting the petition in the town hall, it opens up a whole Pandora’s box.”

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The petition is due to be �presented to Mr Lansley by Conservative Ilford North MP Lee Scott in the summer.

Signatures must be collected across Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Waltham Forest by May 31.

Mrs Zammett said: “The council’s constitution talks about presenting petitions to the council, but surely this does not apply to what we’re asking for.

“We need to have the �petition at fixed points so as many �people as possible can sign it.”

n To sign the petition, visit the Recorder’s office at Media House, 539 High Road, Ilford.